Turkey Eases Export Ban Following Intense Lobbying

Turkish producers will be able to export 50,000 tons of bulk olive oil until November. With forecasts of bumper harvest, the sector wants the ban lifted completely.
Istanbul, Turkey
By Daniel Dawson
Jun. 12, 2024 01:17 UTC

As offi­cials in Turkey’s olive oil sec­tor antic­i­pate another bumper har­vest in the 2024/25 crop year, they con­tinue to call on the gov­ern­ment to lift its ban on bulk exports.

After intense lob­by­ing from the olive oil sec­tor, the gov­ern­ment par­tially lifted the pro­hi­bi­tion, allow­ing pro­duc­ers to export 50,000 tons of olive oil in bulk until November 1, 2024.

The new crop expec­ta­tions and stocks show us that we have approx­i­mately twice as much olive oil as we need in the domes­tic mar­ket. For this rea­son, we believe that bulk exports of olive oil should be lib­er­al­ized.- Ali Kopuz, chair, Istanbul Commodity Exchange

According to the Aegean Olive and Olive Oil Exporters’ Association (EZZIB), Turkey has 200,000 tons of olive oil stocks. EZZIB chair­man Mehmet Emre Uygun wel­comed the deci­sion, which he esti­mated would bring in $300 mil­lion (€279 mil­lion) for pro­duc­ers.

While pro­duc­ers, exporters and their advo­cates wel­comed the announce­ment, they said it did not go far enough.

See Also:Native Varieties Yield Award-Winning Season for Turkish Producers

Uygun said the bulk export restric­tions, first imposed in August 2023, had not ben­e­fited con­sumers by low­er­ing prices, which was the author­i­ties’ goal.

Instead, Uygun said infla­tion had nearly dou­bled the price of olive oil dur­ing the ten months since the bulk export pro­hi­bi­tion was announced. He warned that con­tin­u­ing the ban would hurt farm­ers, millers and exporters.


Mehmet Emre Uygun (Photo: EIB)

While our exports were 150,000 tons in the 2022/23 crop year, they declined around 70 per­cent in the seven-month peri­ods in 2023/24,” he told local media. Exporters were not the only ones who suf­fered due to the injunc­tion. The pro­ducer suf­fered a loss of income because he could not sell his prod­ucts to exports.”

Above all, Turkey and Turkish olive oil exporters lost their good rep­u­ta­tion in export mar­kets,” he added.

The August 2023 ban was the third pro­hi­bi­tion on bulk exports in as many years, with pre­vi­ous bans imple­mented in March 2021 and April 2022. However, the cur­rent one has lasted longer than the ear­lier pro­hi­bi­tions.

Ali Kopuz, the chair of the Istanbul Commodity Exchange, said Turkey has twice the amount of olive oil it needs to sup­ply the domes­tic mar­ket and called on the gov­ern­ment to elim­i­nate the ban.

Bulk olive oil exports were banned, tak­ing into account the yield and stock sit­u­a­tion,” he told local media. In this way, the domes­tic mar­ket was suc­cess­fully reg­u­lated, and our [indi­vid­u­ally pack­aged] olive oil exports dou­bled com­pared to the pre­vi­ous sea­son.”

However, the new crop expec­ta­tions and stocks show us that we have approx­i­mately twice as much olive oil as we need in the domes­tic mar­ket,” Kopuz added. For this rea­son, we believe that bulk exports of olive oil should be lib­er­al­ized.”

The EZZIB antic­i­pates pro­duc­tion to reach 400,000 tons in 2024/25, slightly below the record-high yield reg­is­tered in the 2022/23 crop year but sig­nif­i­cantly above the pre­vi­ous har­vest.

Combined with exist­ing olive oil stocks and pro­duc­tion from Afrin, a region in north­ern Syria occu­pied by Turkey, Uygun esti­mates that the coun­try could have 650,000 tons of olive oil avail­able by the end of the har­vest.

We wish for a sea­son in which there are no quo­tas and out exporters can export in the world mar­kets under fee marker con­di­tions,” Uygun said. If bans are left behind, we believe we will reach the export tar­get of $1 bil­lion (€932 mil­lion) for the first time in our his­tory in the 2024/25 crop year.”


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