Albania has an extraordinary potential for growing olives as it offers the best weather and soil conditions. A research conducted by AgroWeb.org , shows that while investments in increasing olive plantations and in processing industry are growing, the growth pace is still lagging regardless of these potentials.

Therefore, our country compared to other Mediterranean countries, still has the lowest number of olive/capita as well as the lowest rate of olive oil consumption in the region. AgroWeb.org reports that Albania’s average annual olive production in the past years was at 35,000-55,000 tons or about 7,000 tons of olive oil which accounts for 2.5 liters/person.

If we take into account olive oil and olive imports, then the consumption of olive oil is about 3.5 liters/person, a lower rate compared to other olive producing countries such as Italy and Greece with a per capita consumption of 16 liters and 21 liters respectively.

Albanians also rank as the biggest consumers of table olives. International Olive Council, an organization of states that produce olives or products derived from olives, such as olive oil, told AgroWeb.org that Albania ranks in the first spot with an annual consumption of 10 kilograms of table olives per capita. The annual consumption of table olives is 29,000 tons per capita.

Spain is one of Europe’s key suppliers and it consumes 3.5 kg of table olives per capita, followed by Italians with 2 kg/ annum and Greeks with 1.3 kg/capita/year.

These surprising findings show that countries that produce more olives, consume more olive oil. The facts also reveal that countries blessed with a high olive production rate, have an advantegous olive oil processing industry and they lead the export charts.

Spain, Italy, Greece altogether meet 98% of European demand for olive oils. Italy’s and Greece’s per capita olive oil consumption is 16 liters and 21 liters respectively. Albania’s annual olive oil consumption is 3.5 liters/capita while the country produces only 2.5 liters/capita.

AgroWeb.org’s comparative study shows that Italy’s consumption of olive oil is eight times higher than the consumption of table olives. Greece’s consumption of olive oil is sixteen times higher than the consumption of table olives. Albania’s ratings apparently are on a downfall.

Is it because Albanians are not aware of the benefits of olive oil, or the processing industry does not meet market demand. The fact that Albanians are forced to import 1 liter/capita of olive oil to meet consumer needs shows that the olive oil industry represents a huge potential for the country’s economy growth.

Increasing olive plantations and production, boosting the producing industry and improving the extraction technology would without a doubt improve Albania’s score among world olive oil export countries, a market dominated by Spain, Italy and Greece that altogether contribute about 78% of the world production rate and 98% of the European production rate.

The low olive oil consumption rate in Albania, reveals the status of nutrition in the country, because domestic consumption is dominated by cheap vegetable oils which in most of the cases cause more harm to consumers. AgroWeb.org sources claim that Albania has about 150 olive processors, but only 18 of them sell their product in the local markets. The remaining producers offer their services to cultivators and produce limited amounts of olive oil for domestic use./AgroWeb.org