Record olive oil production in Portugal contrasts with drought-hit winter cereals

Olive oil production in Portugal is expected to reach a record level this year, with a 46% increase in volume compared to 2019. [SHUTTERSTOCK]

Olive oil production in Portugal is expected to reach a record level this year, with a 46% increase in volume compared to 2019 and contrasting with the “historic lows” of the output of winter cereals, which has been hit by drought, according to figures released on Thursday by the National Statistics Institute (INE).

“Early estimates, on 31 January, point to a record production of olive oil in 2021 (2.25 million hectolitres), as a result of the excellent agro-meteorological conditions observed throughout the season and the thoughtful restructuring of the sector, namely the raising importance of intensive olive groves,” the INE statement reads.

“On the other hand, the negative effects of the severe and extreme meteorological drought can already be observed, affecting, at the end of January, 45% of the mainland,” it goes on.

“One of the most penalised sectors has been livestock production, particularly extensive livestock production, due to poor grazing conditions” and consequently the need for extraordinary supplies of fodder.”

In winter cereals, the release notes, there are also impacts in terms of the reduction of areas sown – expected to be the smallest in a century – “and in the poor vegetative development of rainfed crops.”

“This drought scenario, combined with the increase of input prices, has generated uncertainty and growing concern in the sector,” the note adds.

(Patrícia Dinis | Lusa.pt)

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