A Very Good Year for Turkish Olive Oil Exports

A good year for olive growers combined with relatively poor years in the Mediterranean and a depreciating Lira, see Turkish exports on pace for a five-year high.

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Oct. 1, 2018
By Daniel Dawson
NYIOOC Award-winning brands from Turkey

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As Turkey’s olive oil sec­tor con­tin­ues to grow, exporters in the world’s fifth largest olive oil pro­duc­ing nation are feel­ing bull­ish about the future.

We believe the cur­rent state of the cur­rency rates will have an even more pos­i­tive effect for increas­ing the demand on Turkish olive oils.- Bahar Alan, Nova Vera

We have exceeded last year’s export fig­ures in the first ten months of this sea­son in olive oil sales abroad,” Davut Er, the deputy chair of the Aegean Olive and Olive Oil Exporters Association (EZZIB, as it is known by its Turkish ini­tials), told local media.

Turkey has already gen­er­ated $341 mil­lion from exports in 2018. We aim to reach $400 mil­lion in exports by the end of this sea­son,” Er said.

A com­bi­na­tion of fac­tors from poor har­vests in other Mediterranean coun­tries to the rapid deval­u­a­tion of the Turkish lira has opened new mar­kets for Turkish olive oils and made export­ing more afford­able.

© Olive Oil Times | Data source: International Olive Council 
* = pro­jected 

According to the International Olive Council (IOC), European Union pro­duc­ers are expected to have the low­est yield this year since the 2007/08 har­vest sea­son. This opens the door for Turkish pro­duc­ers to expand their pres­ence in many of the 122 coun­tries to which they already export olive oil. See Also:The Best Olive Oils from Turkey

Some years pro­duc­tion may decrease [to below] aver­age lev­els, espe­cially in main pro­ducer coun­tries such as Spain and Italy,” Er told Olive Oil Times. During these years, exports for coun­tries such as Turkey may increase if they have a good crop.”

By all mea­sures, Turkey did have a good crop last year. Olive oil pro­duc­tion for the 2017/18 har­vest sea­son is on pace for its sec­ond con­sec­u­tive record year, accord­ing to the IOC.

In the first 10 months of this har­vest sea­son, Turkey has exported 56,521 tonnes, which is a 43 per­cent increase com­pared to the same period last year. Er expects that Turkey will have exported 65,000 tonnes by the end of the har­vest sea­son, which would be the high­est total in the past five years. (The IOC projects it to be 90,000 tons.)

And the effects of the increase of these exports are being felt by some of the country’s small­est pro­duc­ers.

We have sold out of our olive oils as of August 31,” Bahar Alan, the founder of Nova Vera, told Olive Oil Times. She sold almost all of his pack­aged olive oil to the United States and Japan, but still has orders that he can­not fill.

We still have demand from Dubai, China and Germany for the next sea­son’s olive oils as pack­aged olive oil sales,” she said.

Alan attrib­utes some of this suc­cess to the depre­ci­a­tion of the Turkish lira, which has been steadily los­ing value this year and expe­ri­enced a 20 per­cent drop in value at the begin­ning of August, from which it has not recov­ered.

We believe the cur­rent state of the cur­rency rates will have an even more pos­i­tive effect for increas­ing the demand on Turkish olive oils,” she said.

Alan’s story is not an out­lier in Turkey. Overall, pack­aged olive oil exports have increased by 80 per­cent com­pared with last year. They now make up 32 per­cent of over­all olive oil exports, up from nearly 26 per­cent last year. Bulk olive oil exports grew as well, but to Er it is clear in which direc­tion the future lies for Turkish olive oil.

Turkey has an impor­tant capac­ity to export packed olives and olive oil,” he said. Our main aim is to increase pack­aged olive oil exports to con­sumer mar­kets.”

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