The olive tree can be traced back to prehistoric times. Its olive oil and olive fruit has joined every way of life in the Mediterranean region, has become very valuable to the people of the Mediterranean and have been the foundations of their diet, which is the base and support of the healthy lifestyle.
The olive tree has provided economic wealth through the years, to this part of the world. It also has played a significant role in the protection of the environment.
The life of the olive tree is long. Olive trees live for centuries and sometimes for milleniums. The yields are not consistent on a year to year basis.
The annual rate of growth has increased 5.5% globally. The European Union countries take the credit of 80% of the global production and Spain is the leader with 4.5% of the annual growth rate. Outside the European Union, Syria has the highest growth rate.
Countries like USA, Australia, Chili, Brazil, India and China have been adopting the cultivation of the olive tree for future boost in the global supply.
The European countries have been consuming olive oil for thousands of years. In the United States olive oil consumption started by immigrants of Mediterranean descend.
The knowledge and understanding of the extra virgin olive oil’s health benefits, brought by promotion of the International Olive Oil Council, have helped the demand and consumption rise.
The small olive orchard in the European Union is a family operation with low labor. This type of operation usually supplements the main income of the family. The olive growers focus on the yields of their trees and the quality of the production.
The olive oil production is effected by a) prices and subsidies that lead into decisions of investments and decisions of planting new olive orchards or improving existing ones. b) labor and expenses. Harvesting is the highest of the cultivation costs. The shrinking of the labor force has resulted into the use of labor immigrants from neighboring countries, like the Balkans. c) and most important factor is the climate. Temperature changes can effect the olive oil production.