The olive tree is a crop native to the Mediterranean eco-geographical region and its produce, olive oil and table olives, play a fundamental role in the traditional diet of its inhabitants - the well-known, healthy Mediterranean diet.
Spain is the world's top producer and exporter of olive oil and table olives and has the largest acreage of olive groves and the highest number of olive trees. On a national level, the olive is the country's second largest crop in terms of acreage after cereals, and can be found in 34 of the 50 Spanish provinces. 60% of the total acreage is located in Andalusia.
Apart from its vast territorial extension, the cultivation of the olive tree and its produce, olive oil and table olives, constitutes one of the foremost sectors in the Spanish agrifood industry, in terms of both its economic importance and other social, environmental and public health factors.
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The primary macro magnitudes used for characterising and assessing Spanish olive production are as follows:
Olive growing area: 2,456,719 ha
Mill olives: 2,359,480 ha
Number of olive trees: 282,696,000
Table olives: 97,239 ha
Unirrigated land: 1,941,252 ha
Irrigated land: 515,467 ha
Mill olive trees: 264,321,000
Direct employment: 32,000,000 days paid work
Table olive: 18,375,000
Harvest: 16,650,000 days paid work
Other tasks: 15,350,000 days paid work