Of the 830 million olive trees cultivated throughout the world, 90 % of them are to be found in the Mediterranean basin.
Spain and Italy are leading producers, followed by Greece, Turkey, Tunisia and Morocco.
Provence is not a front-runner in terms of quantity of olive trees - it "only" has 3.5 million olive trees which puts it in 12th position world-wide - but in terms of quality, it is considered to be one of the regions producing the best olive oils in the world.
The Provence Alpes Cotes d'Azur region provides 70% of the French national production of olive oil, 15% of which comes from the Var region.
Olive trees were introduced into France some 2,500 years ago thanks to the Phoenicians settling in what is now Marseille.
In 1840 there were 26 million trees, covering an area of 1,680 square kilometres.
After the catastrophic freezing conditions in 1956 only a 1/3 of the olive trees survived, and they currently only represent 200 square kilometres for 3.5 million trees in France.
The Var region alone had 2.5 million trees before this devastating frost paralysed the entire region.
According to figures from the regional chamber of agriculture, in the Var there are currently 700,000 olive trees on a surface area of about 40 square kilometres in production.
2.2 billion litres of olive oil are consumed annually worldwide.
- In Greece: 19 litres per inhabitant
- In Italy: 11 litres per inhabitant
- In Spain: 10 litres per inhabitant
To add Sources: Jean-Philippe Frère – The Olive Man IOC – International Olive Council www.oleiculteur.com