Olives have a rich history and date as far back as the 1st millennium BC, when Phoenicians introduced the olive tree in the Iberian Peninsula. Thereafter, Romans and Arabs developed the crops using more intensive methods and it was the first Spanish colonisers who brought the olive tree to America.

Widely cultivated across the Mediterranean, Africa and Asia Minor for thousands of years, olives were historically considered as a symbol of peace, wisdom and progress.

Today there are around 850 million olive trees on earth, covering more than 10 million hectares of land. According to the International Olive Council’s data, Spain is the first olive producing country in the world, followed with a big gap by other countries in the Mediterranean basin. The average world production during the last five harvest seasons totalled around 2,472,000 tonnes of which 21% were produced in Spain.


Spain is also the top olive exporting country in the world. The Spanish Directorate of Customs estimates that table olives exported by Spain in 2013, including to European Union countries, reached 311,212 tonnes (net weight), with a value of approximately €624.7 million. The main destinations of olives in volume terms are U.S.A., Italy, Russia, France, Germany, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Canada and the United Kingdom.


Olive Trees On Earth


Hectares of land covered

2472000 tonnes

Average world production


Produced in Spain

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types of olives