`Turkish Producers Pray Export Ban Ends with Ramadan - Olive Oil Times

Turkish Producers Pray Export Ban Ends with Ramadan

By Ofeoritse Daibo
Apr. 11, 2024 23:51 UTC

Turkey’s olive oil pro­duc­ers are strug­gling under the weight of a tem­po­rary ban on bulk olive oil exports that the gov­ern­ment intro­duced last year.

In August 2023, the Turkish gov­ern­ment sus­pended bulk olive oil exports to rein in ris­ing olive oil prices in the domes­tic mar­ket and to encour­age the export of pack­aged olive oil, which sells at much higher prices than bulk olive oil.

The fear before the ban was that there would be a sup­ply prob­lem and not enough oil for the domes­tic mar­ket, but our new prob­lem is exces­sive olive oil stocks.- Serkan Yasser, export spe­cial­ist

The announce­ment came at a moment of ris­ing demand across Europe for olive oil as many coun­tries started what they expected to be another poor har­vest sea­son due to heat and drought.

The ban, orig­i­nally sched­uled to end in November but later extended indef­i­nitely, has resulted in exces­sive stocks for farm­ers and millers due to an over­sup­ply of olive oil from last year and the addi­tion of oil from the lat­est har­vest.

See Also:Tunisian Ag Minister Urges Sector to Take Advantage of Bumper Harvest

Turkey’s olive oil exports are mainly lim­ited to bulk sales,” Serkan Yasser, an export spe­cial­ist, told the Olive Oil Times. The fear before the ban was that there would be a sup­ply prob­lem and not enough oil for the domes­tic mar­ket, but our new prob­lem is exces­sive olive oil stocks.”

However, the tem­po­rary restric­tions achieved the goal of sta­bi­liz­ing domes­tic olive oil prices to a cer­tain degree.

Although the price of olive oil increased by 149 per­cent, prices have declined. Before the ban, the retail price was 230 to 300 Turkish lira (€7.75 to €10.11) per liter, but it climbed to above 500 to 600 lira (€15.88 to €19.06) for cer­tain brands before retreat­ing back to around 400 lira (€11.54) in the past month.

Olive oil pro­duc­ers had 150,000 tons of olive oil stocks from the 2022/23 crop year, in which the coun­try pro­duced a record-break­ing 421,000 tons of olive oil.

The lat­est har­vest, dur­ing which a far more mod­est 180,000 tons of olive oil was pro­duced, has added to this. Some pro­duc­ers esti­mate that after domes­tic sales, there will be around 200,000 tons left over.

In a November inter­view with Olive Oil Times, Mustafa Tan, the pres­i­dent of Turkey’s National Olive and Olive Oil Council, said Turkey was well poised to cap­i­tal­ize on Europe’s olive oil deficit and could sup­ply bot­tlers in Spain and Italy, des­per­ate to find olive oil and ful­fill export con­tracts.

Meanwhile, pro­duc­ers and some sec­tor observers com­plained that the ban – the third one in as many years by Turkish author­i­ties – hurt the rep­u­ta­tion of Turkish com­pa­nies as reli­able export part­ners.

According to data gath­ered by the United States Department of Agriculture, Spain was the lead­ing des­ti­na­tion for Turkish olive oil exports from November 2022 to June 2023, fol­lowed by the United States, Saudi Arabia, Japan and Israel.

Still, Yasser believes these mea­sures encour­age more pro­duc­ers to focus on more labor-inten­sive but also more prof­itable indi­vid­u­ally pack­aged exports.

Because of these export restric­tions, pro­duc­ers have relied on sell­ing pack­aged prod­ucts,” Yasser said.

As a result, pack­aged olive oil exports, which were already gain­ing momen­tum, increased by five per­cent. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, pack­aged olive oil exports increased by three per­cent by vol­ume before the ban.

This trend – which can also be seen in the ris­ing num­ber of sub­mis­sions and awards for Turkish pro­duc­ers at inter­na­tional qual­ity com­pe­ti­tions – will likely con­tinue as Turkey improves the qual­ity of its pack­ag­ing.

Turkey’s olive oil qual­ity is already high,” Yasser said. Production tech­niques are improv­ing every year, and pro­duc­ers are becom­ing more con­scious of qual­ity.”

To main­tain qual­ity, the tem­per­a­ture of ware­houses and tanks is kept at a cer­tain level with air con­di­tion­ing sys­tems,” he added. In this way, the prod­uct does not lose qual­ity. Warehouses are also shielded from direct sun­light, and all tanks are sealed to pre­vent oxi­da­tion. However, keep­ing large quan­ti­ties of olive oil stocks for too long may affect the good qual­ity we have.”

The tem­po­rary ban is expected to be lifted after Ramadan, which ends in April. In the mean­time, olive oil pro­duc­ers are offer­ing prod­ucts at a dis­count in a bid to deplete stocks.


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