Olive oil crisis looms: Syria's 2023/24 production estimated to nosedive amid climate woes
Syrian authorities are bracing for a significant downturn in olive oil production in the 2023/24 harvest season. The Ministry of Agriculture recently released a report projecting production to reach an estimated 49,000 metric tonnes, a stark contrast to the 130,000 to 140,000 metric tonnes produced in 2022/23.
Market players have suggested that this decline is attributed to a combination of climatic events and limited irrigation, with significant hot and dry periods over several months reportedly to blame.
This Syrian development comes on the heels of the Turkish Ministry of Trade suspending olive oil exports until 1st November, citing the global surge in olive oil prices, which Mintec reported here. Concerns have also arisen regarding the potential impact of Turkish oil sales to third countries by Spain and Italy, which, if unchecked, were thought to have strained domestic supplies.
Market observers note that these measures may stem from production concerns in major European olive oil-producing countries such as Italy, Spain, and Greece, where drought conditions prevail. These conditions could result in a significant drop in olive oil production compared to the five-year average. Estimates provided to Mintec by market players suggest that the EU may produce between 1.2 to 1.35 million metric tonnes of olive oil, considerably below the five-year average of 2.1 million metric tonnes, according to the EU Commission.
Despite relatively low export volumes from Syria, there are concerns that these restrictions and those on Turkish exports could lead to a tighter market, driving short-term increases in olive oil prices. With fewer options for sourcing the product, market players may encounter challenges in securing olive oil supplies. This situation is compounded by the fact that high prices have not deterred consumers from purchasing olive oil.
Mintec will continue to provide updates on this evolving story as more information becomes available.