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Olive shortage expected Print
Spain is by far the biggest producer of olive oil in the world, accounting last year for around 50% of the total production worldwide. However farmers in southern Spain believe their crop of olives this year is down by as much as 80%, and some think it is inevitable that the price of this increasingly sought-after commodity will rise.

"The rain was noticeable for its absence," says Diego Galindo, vice-president of the San Julian Olive Oil Cooperative in Jaen. He describes the harvest this year as "really bad".

Industry experts such as Juan Vilar, who has written 14 books about olive oil and teaches a course in olive oil at Jaen University, believe the fall in production could be felt around the world. "This year, Spain will have only enough production to cover its internal consumption," he says.

Mr Vilar argues that, because Spain normally produces between 40 and 60% of the world's olive oil, there might not be enough this year to meet demand worldwide. "If this year we don't have enough oil to cover the total consumption worldwide, then the price will increase.
The demand for olive oil worldwide is growing, especially in fast-growing economies such as Brazil, India and China.

Mr Vilar believes there is a direct correlation between high life expectancy in countries like Spain, Greece and Italy, and the large quantity of olive oil that people consume there.

He believes there is strong evidence that people who have a healthy amount of olive oil in their diet are less likely to have heart attacks, or to suffer from some forms of cancer.


Abu Usayd and ?Umar bin al-Khattaab radiyallaahu ?anhuma narrated that Rasuulullaah sallallaahu ?alayhi wa sallam said: ?Use olive oil for eating and rubbing on the body. It is from a blessed tree.? [Tirmizi]
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