According to official sources, the Olive tree (Olea europea) was introduced into China over 40 years ago. However, the crop only started to expand at the beginning of the millennium. The areas of greatest potential for the development of olive growing are Gansu, Shaanxi and Sichuan. China currently has an olive hectarage of 86000 ha., of which 43% is under irrigation. More than 27% of the current surface area is under production. The average annual planting rate is of approximately 14 000 ha of olive trees.
The development of the olive sector is playing an important role in China, enabling more than 3200 families and 15 000 people to improve their living conditions. It also plays an important environmental role through the extension of olive orchards to the banks of the rivers Bailong and Baishui.
China’s production infrastructure currently comprises 25 oil mills. In the 2015/2016 crop year it produced approximately 5000 t of olive oil, which is a 75% increase compared to the previous crop year. Extra virgin olive oilaccounted for 85% of production, and virgin olive oil accounted for 15%.
The graph shows the increase of imports to China, indicating exponential growth in the first crop years, with a 792% increase in imports over the last 10 years (2004/05-2014/15).
Despite a decline in the last three crop years, a 10% year-on-year increase has been observed over the first nine months of the current 2015/16 crop year. Ninety-six percent of total imports come from European production countries, led by Spain with 81% of the total, and followed by Italy with 13%, and Greece with 2%. In this regard, it should be noted that China is the second most important food market for the European Union.
The remaining 4% of imports come from other countries, mainly Australia, Morocco, Tunisia and Turkey.
It should also be noted that 78% of China’s imports come from the extra virgin and virgin olive oil category (150910); 8% are from the olive oil category (150990) and 14% are the olive-pomace oil category (151000).
Source: IOC MARKET NEWSLETTERNo. 107 – July-August 2016Olive growing in China,