Prices have increased 60% in Spain since last year
Olive oil, that staple of almost every Portuguese dish, is about to become even more precious than it already is.
Prices are being threatened by the ongoing drought, now in its second really tough year.
Say reports, sector representatives accept the situation is here to stay (if not permanently, certainly for the next few months). They fear an increase in prices to ‘record values’.
Spain is already pointing the direction: prices over the border have increased 60% since last year.
“The drought situation has been going on since January”, Luís Mira, secretary general of the Portuguese Confederation of Farmers explains. “March and April were months with little rainfall. The situation is difficult. The reality is that in May it does not normally not rain so we are unlikely to see any changes for the better”.
Almost half the country is already in various stages of drought (from weak to extreme); temperatures are wildly above normal for this time of year (IPMA’s forecast is that we are in a 10-day period where temperatures will exceed 30ºC every day) . “If it continues like this, it’s going to be difficult”, admits Mira.
Casa do Azeite (the association of olive oil producers) shares these concerns, recalling that Portugal has already “accumulated two years of drought”.
Spain’s situation “obviously has a strong impact on the rest of the market”, adds Luís Seabra, president of the Association of Farmers of Ribatejo (AAR).
Spain is the largest producer of olive oil in the world, and is responsible for half of the world’s olive oil production.
Spain has actually already requested EU support to help with the effects of the drought
Luís Mira summed up the developing drama ominously: “Without water there is no food. It’s a very simple equation”