The Olive (Olea europaea L.) Industry in China: its Status, Opportunities and Challenges

Olive groves are among the most significant agroforestry systems for ecological, social and economic benefits not only in the Mediterranean area but also in China.

Over the long course of olive cultivar introduction, the great majority of global olive development has taken place in Mediterranean regions, and later, it spread to the rest of the world, including China.

A true picture of the current status of the olive industry in China is still lacking. This unique study aims to gain a better understanding of the opportunities and challenges in the Chinese olive industry. This study involved both a literature review as well as a field investigation to analyze the study questions, and it consisted of the historical perspective, current status, trends, policies, opportunities and challenges.

The introduction and domestication of the olive has been performed in China since 1964. The olive is a suitable tree with a high survival rate in many regions in the southern part of the country, but the olive industry was just recently built up in Gansu, Sichuan, Yunnan after 2000 because only a few areas could produce olive fruit-bearing trees. By 2030, the total plantation areas are expected to increase from 66,400 ha (2016) to approximately 193,400 ha.

In the past, approximately 165 cultivars were introduced, among which 28 cultivars that exhibited excellent performance were preliminarily selected. Among the dominant areas for these olives, Longnan has been shown to be the best representative region through the rapid development of its olive industry.

Olive oil imports exceeded 90% of total consumption in China, and this import volume increased rapidly by 60 to 70%, except in the last 3 years.

A lack of research advances still remains a large challenge for the scientific community. Olive is one of the most important fruit trees can grow in agroforestry systems.

At present, the Chinese olive industry is at its initial stage of development, it will be a great potential in the next 20 years especially for olive agroforestry in the low olive fruit production areas. Whether developing olive monoculture or agroforestry more practical measures should be made in the future.

This study analyzes the Chinese olive industry from an ultramodern global perspective, with the aim of providing effective measures through a multi-analysis of low production. This study may help to enhance the olive industry. More