Olive oil production in Croatia hit a four-year high in the 2020/21 crop year. Producers also reported excellent quality, especially in Istria. However, the Covid-driven economic crisis has severely impacted domestic consumption. Meanwhile, both extra-European Union imports and exports hit record highs.2020/2021 Croatia harvest report
Olive oil production in Croatia rose to 4,600 tons in the 2020/21 crop year, the highest total since 2016/17 and the third consecutive year of growth. Producers reported favorable weather conditions and a low presence of the olive fruit fly, contributing to the production increase. Newly-planted groves entering maturity have also helped the tiny southern European nation boost its production. The Croatian agriculture minister has previously stated his ambition to triple the number of olive trees currently being grown. Along with increasing quantity, many producers also reported having an exceptionally high-quality harvest. However, the good fortune was not spread across the country uniformly, with producers on the Istrian peninsula, in the north of the country, faring better than their counterparts located on the southwestern coastline, including Dalmatia and some of the coastal islands. According to producers, the COVID-19 pandemic had little impact on the harvest, with many areas of the country having low infection levels during critical moments in the crop year. While production increased, domestic consumption dropped to 7,000 tons, down from 8,300 tons in the previous crop year and its overall joint-lowest level since 2014/15. Producers blamed the pandemic for the consumption decrease, with travel restriction severely hurting the tourism industry and the overall economic crisis driving down household incomes. Despite the decrease in domestic consumption, extra-European Union olive oil imports rose to a record-high 400 tons. Croatia generally never produces enough olive oil to meet domestic consumption. However, the trend of importing cheaper non-virgin olive oils to blend with local extra virgin olive oils has producers worried that those cheap imports and blends will soon outcompete them. This development has led to an increase in extra-European Union olive oil exports from Croatia, which hit a record-high 400 tons in the current crop year. Many producers are focussing on exporting their highest-quality extra virgin olive oils to the United States and East Asian countries.
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