After three consecutive years of decreasing production, olive oil yields recovered slightly in 2019, rising to 3,500 tons. Quality also increased as most producers in Croatia were confident in their extra virgin olive oils. However, exports decreased as more olive oils remained in the country to satiate domestic demand.2019/2020 Croatia harvest report
Croatian olive oil production in Croatia slightly rebounded in 2019, rising from 3,000 tons to 3,500 tons. Hot weather during the spring damaged many olive trees right as they were about to bloom, which led to lower fruit yield on each tree than had been previously expected. In spite of the low quantity of production, many producers in Croatia were optimistic that the quality of this year’s yield would be as high as ever. After the high heat of the spring, summer and autumn temperatures were quite good for olive growing and rain came at just the right moment in the autumn. Unlike in previous years, there were no olive fruit fly infestations, meaning the vast majority of what came off the trees was in good condition to press into oil. Olive oil producers in the northern region of Istria will continue to benefit from the new Protected Designation of Origins (PDO) status, which was formally enshrined into European law last summer and will be used on oils produced in the northern peninsula again this year. Along with production, exports also decreased to a nearly negligible level. Olive oils normally destined for export and the country's stocks were required to meet the steady domestic consumption demands of Croatians. Just like many of their other European counterparts, Croatian producers are also suffering from the low olive oil prices, but unlike many they are unable to participate in the European Commission olive oil storage scheme. Officials in the country’s agriculture ministry have criticized the scheme for being prohibitive to Croatian producers. A minimum amount of 50 tons (to be stored) is required for producers to be eligible to participate and many in Croatia do not meet this threshold. Along with these market issues, many producers are worried about climate change as unusual weather patterns in each of the past several years have partly impacted the olive yield. While the regions of Istria and Dalmatia remain the main olive growing regions, newer areas in the mountainous east of the country are becoming increasingly inhabitable for olive trees. Olive growers are watching this unintended consequence of climate change closely and weighing the option of investing in olive groves farther away from the coast.
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