Olive Oil Export Ban Sours Table Olive Sales in Turkey

While table olive exports soared in the first five months of the 2023/24 campaign, the ban on olive oil exports is blamed for holding the sector back.
By Daniel Dawson
May. 7, 2024 13:20 UTC

Table olive exports from Turkey soared in the first five months of the 2023/24 export year (which begins in November in Turkey), bring­ing in $114 mil­lion (€106 mil­lion) of rev­enue, 15 per­cent more than in the same period in 2022/23.

Davut Er, the pres­i­dent of the Aegean Olive and Olive Oil Exporters’ Association (EZZIB), added that the amount of table olives exported had also increased by 18 per­cent.

If the restric­tions imposed on bulk and bar­reled olive oil exports con­tinue, it will cause irrepara­ble dam­age to our sec­tor.- Davut Er, pres­i­dent, EZZIB

Table olive exporters enjoy a prof­itable year, buoyed by a record-break­ing har­vest of 605,00 tons in the 2022/23 crop year (which begins in October) and another bumper crop of 445,000 tons this sea­son.

However, the country’s con­tin­ued pro­hi­bi­tion of bulk olive oil exports has resulted in a sig­nif­i­cant decrease, with the amount of olive oil sold abroad falling from 81,000 tons in the first five months of the 2022/23 export year to 31,000 tons in the cur­rent crop year, a 62 per­cent decrease.

See Also:Turkish Olive Oil Exports Can Make Up for Europe’s Deficit Once Ban Is Lifted, Official Says

Historically high olive oil prices at ori­gin across the Mediterranean basin did off­set some of the losses felt by pro­duc­ers, with the value of exports falling by 36 per­cent from $358 mil­lion (€331 mil­lion) in the pre­vi­ous export year to $228 mil­lion (€212 mil­lion) in the cur­rent one.

Still, this news is bit­ter­sweet, with pro­duc­ers won­der­ing what could have been if the pro­hi­bi­tion had ended as planned on November 1, 2023. Instead, it was extended indef­i­nitely on October 17th.

If the restric­tions imposed on bulk and bar­reled olive oil exports con­tinue, it will cause irrepara­ble dam­age to our sec­tor,” Er said.

With the imple­men­ta­tion of the olive oil export band, offi­cials had hoped to lower the high olive oil prices on the domes­tic mar­ket ahead of

Officials imple­mented the ban cit­ing high olive oil prices in the domes­tic mar­ket. Turkish offi­cials pre­vi­ously banned bulk exports in March 2021 and April 2022. However, the cur­rent pro­hi­bi­tion seems likely to last longer.

While Er and other pro­duc­ers do not begrudge the gov­ern­ment for work­ing to lower prices at home, now that the 2023/24 har­vest has been com­pleted, they believe there is plenty of olive oil for both the domes­tic mar­ket and the more prof­itable export mar­kets.

We entered the 2023/24 crop year with approx­i­mately 140,000 tons of excess stock,” Er said.”If we add the 140,000 tons of stock, 185,000 tons of yield [from the cur­rent har­vest] and 50,000 tons of olive oil com­ing from Afrin [a Turkish-occu­pied region of north­ern Syria] in the 2023/24 sea­son, alto­gether, we have 375,000 tons of olive oil.”

When we antic­i­pate that there will be 100,000 tons of exports and 175,000 tons of domes­tic con­sump­tion in the 2023/24 sea­son, we will enter the 2024/25 sea­son with a min­i­mum stock of 100,000 tons,” he added.

The news of the sig­nif­i­cant decreases in olive oil exports comes a week after Er told an EZZIB gen­eral assem­bly that he believes Turkey can export $2 bil­lion (€1.86 bil­lion) annu­ally by 2028.

Despite the bulk and bar­rel export restric­tions imposed at the end of July, we aim to boost this fig­ure [annual olive oil exports] to $1.5 bil­lion (€1.39 mil­lion) in the next few years and to $2 bil­lion in 2023,” he told the assem­bly.


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