Organic olive farming in Andalusia, Spain. A review

  • Carmen Rocío Rodríguez Pleguezuelo
  • Víctor Hugo Durán Zuazo
  • José Ramón Francia Martínez
  • Francisco José Martín Peinado
  • Francisco Moreno Martín
  • Iván Francisco García Tejero
Review Article
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Organic farming


Olive is a key crop in the Mediterranean basin, socially, economically, and environmentally, being a major source of rural employment. Organic products such as olive oil have attracted many types of consumers in recent years. In this context, the Mediterranean basin represents 5 Mha of the 10 Mha of olive farming worldwide, with Spain being the leading producer. Also, during the recent decades, olive farmers met the challenges of sustainability by implementing principles of agroecological production. Therefore, the focal point is no longer exclusively on yields but also on the quality, health, and environmental aspects of products and systems. In this work, we review and analyse the global situation of organic farming, focusing on the development, current status, perspectives, and opportunities of organic olive farming in Andalusia (S Spain). In addition, we assess the environmental benefits and consequences of the shift from conventional to organic management of olive orchards, focusing on the improvement of soil quality and biodiversity. Also, the general factors affecting the decision making for acquiring organic olive oil are discussed. Our main findings show the following: (1) It is necessary to encourage educational and research programmes to promote the demand for these products, positively affecting consumer health, protecting the environment, and improving rural economies. (2) The future of organic agriculture will depend on its economic viability and on the determination shown by governments to protect these practices. (3) Further support for funding research is needed to continue studying the effect of olive cultivation on soil biological quality, changes in soil properties, and biodiversity. More importantly, these beneficial extra outputs produced for society must be interiorised in economic value to compensate organic oil producers. (4) Finally, a clear understanding of attitudes and preferences, as well as the motivations of consumer when making the choice for organic olive products, is essential in responding to this specific demand. However, as stated above, major institutional and educational actions are also needed in order to boost sustainable organic olive farming and thus the preference for organic olive oil.


Andalusia Olive organic farming Environmental impact Conventional systems 



This publication was sponsored by the following research project “Agro-environmental assessment of conventional, integrated, conservation and organic olive production systems in mountainous areas: impact on erosion, soil quality and commercial value of olive oil” (P11 AGR-7431) granted by CEC of Junta de Andalucía.


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© INRA and Springer-Verlag France SAS, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carmen Rocío Rodríguez Pleguezuelo
    • 1
  • Víctor Hugo Durán Zuazo
    • 2
  • José Ramón Francia Martínez
    • 1
  • Francisco José Martín Peinado
    • 3
  • Francisco Moreno Martín
    • 4
  • Iván Francisco García Tejero
    • 2
  1. 1.IFAPA Centro “Camino de Purchil”GranadaSpain
  2. 2.IFAPA Centro “Las Torres-Tomejil”SevillaSpain
  3. 3.Departamento de Edafología y Química AgrícolaUniversidad de GranadaGranadaSpain
  4. 4.Excmo. Ayuntamiento de la MalaháConcejalía de Medio AmbienteGranadaSpain

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