Soil and climate

Olive groves are usually cultivated in Mediterranean climates, which are characterised by mild winters and long, warm, dry summers. They can be grown in a wide range of soils. The figure below shows the distribution of olive groves around the world. mapaOlivos_superior There are different cultivation densities and systems for olive groves: traditional, intensive and hedge row (or superintensive).
  • Suelo_01– Traditional olive grove: As its name indicates, this is the kind of cultivation that has taken place over centuries. In Spain, the density of traditional olive groves is around 75 trees/ha, usually with more than one trunk. In Italy around 100 trees are grown per hectare, in Greece 200/ha and in Tunisia 20 trees/ha.
  • Suelo_02
    – Intensive olive grove This is a modern olive farm with a density of 200 to 300 trees/ha and a single trunk per tree to make mechanical harvesting easier.
  • Suelo_03
    – Hedge row (or Superintensive olive grove): This is a modern grove with densities that vary from 900 to 2000 trees/ha with the goal of making mechanical harvesting as profitable as possible.


mapaOlivos_inferior SPAIN This is the country that has the largest area devoted to olive groves in the world, with 2.6 million hectares. The most important varieties are Picual, Hojiblanca, Arbequina, Cornicabra, Manzanilla, etc. Spain is the leading olive oil and table olive producer in the world. Spain’s output accounts for around 42% of total worldwide production. ITALY Italy is the second leading olive oil producer in the world. It has 1.2 million hectares devoted to olive groves. The main varieties grown include Leccino, Frantoio, Coratina, etc. Italy’s output accounts for 24.1% of total worldwide production. GREECE Greece is the third leading olive oil producer in the world, with 1.1 million hectares. The main olive varieties grown there are Koroneiki, Kalamata, Vassilikki, etc. TUNISIA Tunisia is the fourth leading olive oil producer in the world, with 1.7 million hectares of olive groves. The main olive varieties grown there are Chemlali de Sfax and Chetoui.