`Q&A With Mustafa Tan, National Olive Oil Council of Turkey - Olive Oil Times

Q&A With Mustafa Tan, National Olive Oil Council of Turkey

Jul. 30, 2010
Umut Egitimci

Recent News

After Turkey left the International Olive Oil Council in 1998, the National Olive and Olive Oil Council (UZZK) was orga­nized. Today, it has become one of the main orga­ni­za­tions in Turkey that help to develop the olive oil indus­try and cul­ture. Dr. Mustafa Tan, Chairman of National Olive and Olive Oil Council, agreed recently to answer ques­tions about the orga­ni­za­tion and the olive indus­try in Turkey.

OOT: How and why was the National Olive and Olive Oil Council estab­lished?

Dr. TAN: Due to the needs of the sec­tor, National Olive and Olive Oil Council (known as UZZK in Turkish) was estab­lished as a reflec­tion of a strong civil soci­ety ini­tia­tive. On June 1st, 2002, Adatepe was the place for our first meet­ing. Later, at meet­ings in Izmir, Aydın, Bursa, hun­dreds of indus­try rep­re­sen­ta­tives who aimed to estab­lish UZZK, chose the exec­u­tive com­mit­tee. Many of our friends who were involved in that com­mit­tee are cur­rently work­ing with us in the man­age­ment for UZZK. Until then and wor­thy of this trust, we have been work­ing to develop our olive indus­try. Our goal is sim­ply to bring all seg­ments of the indus­try together, find solu­tions for the prob­lems of the indus­try legally and even­tu­ally make our country’s olive indus­try suc­ceed to the throne where it deserves to be. In accor­dance with this goal, rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the olive indus­try came together with the sup­port of the rel­e­vant insti­tutes and orga­ni­za­tions, includ­ing the Turkish Republic Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs and cre­ated a mile­stone for our indus­try.

Turkish olive sec­tor have had issues and it sure will have in the future. Started as a leader of pro­duc­tion and in the amount of trees in olive oil’s home­land Anatolia, it moved back­wards to the fifth posi­tion after Spain, Italy, Greece and Tunisia. Our yield of olive and olive oil per tree is low and we still have prob­lems regard­ing qual­ity stan­dards. However we still talk about these prob­lems while we have the most suit­able soil and cli­mate con­di­tions for pro­duc­ing the best olives and olive oil. There are still thou­sands of houses that beau­ti­ful olive oil has not entered yet and mil­lions of peo­ple who do not know enough about olive oil. As a first step, we would like to raise our olive oil con­sump­tion from 2 – 3 kg to 5 kg per per­son and be able to con­sume what we pro­duce.

OOT: What kind of work does the UZZK do in Turkey?

Dr. TAN:UZZK is cre­at­ing a col­lec­tive con­scious­ness and com­mon address among the pub­lic, NGOs and pri­vate sec­tor in order to;

  • Develop stronger struc­ture for olive indus­try in Turkey,
  • Support cre­at­ing brands for prod­uct mar­ket­ing,
  • Develop olive and olive oil pro­duc­tion, con­sump­tion and trade,
  • Ensure the inte­gra­tion of domes­tic and inter­na­tional mar­ket for pro­duc­ers and indus­tri­al­ists,
  • Realize the har­mony with European Union olive and olive oil com­mon mar­ket for­ma­tion,
  • Increase the com­pe­ti­tion with the world mar­ket by cre­at­ing devel­op­ment plans,
  • And solve the prod­uct prob­lems by report­ing them to Agricultural Support and Guidance Committee.

By get­ting together in accor­dance to the 5488 Limited Agriculture Act and the National Olive and Olive Oil Council Foundation and Principles of Regulation” pro­vi­sions, we started estab­lish­ing the first prod­uct coun­cil and con­tinue our work with the real­iza­tion of the 1st Ordinary General Assembly on 12th of November, 2007 and as of today com­pleted our third year of activ­ity.

When we look back at the last three years, we wit­ness so many prob­lems (past and cur­rent) of the indus­try and yet a will­ing­ness to solve these prob­lems. As you will appre­ci­ate, the olive indus­try in our coun­try has to go through this dif­fi­cult process by com­pet­ing with the giants. In this process, qual­ity, effi­ciency, stan­dard­iza­tion will become more impor­tant than ever, espe­cially the meth­ods that are com­pat­i­ble with the envi­ron­ment and pro­duc­ing qual­ity prod­ucts will be the most spo­ken sub­jects. While Spain, Italy,Greece is slow­ing down even under the secu­rity umbrella of European Union, Turkey’s olive indus­try is rais­ing the bars by trans­fer­ring infor­ma­tion, tech­nol­ogy and other mate­r­ial sup­plies.

Because of the global warm­ing pol­lu­tion and drought stress, we had 130 thou­sand tons of olive oil from 150 mil­lion olive trees last year. And this year, by gain­ing 147 thou­sand tons of olive oil, we are happy to get closer to the European Union coun­tries. Also in the last two years, around 320 – 400 thou­sand tons of olive for table pro­duc­tion has been achieved. Because olive and olive oil indus­try are much more talk in the coun­try now, and the new investors are spend­ing lots of effort to mar­ket their prod­ucts, domes­tic annual per capita con­sump­tion has raised from 1 liter to 1.5 liter. There’s no doubt that the com­mon goals and efforts of our coun­cil and Agriculture and Rural Affairs Ministry, are help­ing the rapid growth of the indus­try in our coun­try.

OOT: How is Turkey doing with the olive oil pro­duc­tion and con­sump­tion at the moment?

Click to Enlarge

Dr. TAN:According to IOC (International Olive Council) sources, with its 5 % share of olive oil pro­duc­tion in the last two years, Turkey is on the third row with Tunisia ( 5.5 %) after EU (73%). When it comes to olive for table pro­duc­tion, EU has a share of 33 % and Turkey is fol­low­ing that by its 17 % of share, the same as Egypt. And Turkey is the num­ber one coun­try in the world for pro­duc­ing black olives.

About the con­sump­tion, IOC sta­tis­tics are telling that EU is num­ber one with 64 %, fol­lowed by USA with 9 % and Turkey with 3 %. Another fact is that 25 % of the world con­sump­tion of table olives is being pro­vided by EU while 11 % is pro­vided by Turkey fol­lowed by the USA ( 10 %) and Egypt.

OOT: Has the olive indus­try been effected by the finan­cial cri­sis?

Dr. TAN:Luckily, the olive oil indus­try in Turkey has achieved to increase pro­duc­tion for the last two years in spite of the cri­sis. Domestic con­sump­tion has increased as well as the export of patented and pack­aged prod­ucts enter­ing into new mar­kets.

OOT: What kind of work should be done in order to increase the sales in Turkey?

Dr. Tan

First of all, we are try­ing to cre­ate an aware­ness in terms of olive oil’s qual­ity advan­tages and healthy ben­e­fits com­par­ing to the other type of oils. Vinolive” fair that’s held every year with our coor­di­na­tion, has great impor­tance for intro­duc­ing and mar­ket­ing olive oil to domes­tic and inter­na­tional mar­kets. There will be a spe­cial­ized olive and olive oil fair called OLIVTECH in Izmir between 1st and 4th of December, 2010. I strongly believe this fair will help the indus­try glob­ally and so many world-wide orga­ni­za­tions, includ­ing IOC will know more about the olive and olive oil indus­try in Turkey. We con­tinue to cre­ate work­shops, sem­i­nars and pan­els to cre­ate more aware­ness.

Since February 20, 2010 Turkey has become a mem­ber of IOC again. From now on, we will work on col­lab­o­ra­tive projects for mar­ket­ing nation­ally and inter­na­tion­ally with the mul­ti­plier effect of IOC. UZZK will be coor­di­nat­ing these types of pro­mo­tion cam­paigns. On the other hand, we are still work­ing on work­ing against imi­ta­tions of olive oil by the law in order to con­verge with EU stan­dards. Our Quality Control Programme goes par­al­lel to IOC’s pro­gramme and it will be pub­lished as a white list by UZZK. Soon, all the world will learn that the world’s high­est qual­ity and the most nat­ural olive and olive oil have been pro­duced in Turkey.

OOT: Can you assess the gov­ern­ment sup­port to the indus­try?

Dr. TAN: For the first time a Minister of Agriculture has also pro­nounced the goal of becom­ing sec­ond best after Spain which have been directed to, and accepted by, the UZZK and all of the rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the sec­tor. During his speech at Adana Olive Summit, Mr. Mehdi Eker, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, said that the indus­try can be insti­tu­tion­al­ized with the inure of National Olive and Olive Oil Council Regulations and it’s nec­es­sary to move for­ward in the indus­try before we become a mem­ber of EU.

By 2014, the min­istry have deter­mined the goals for olive indus­try as fol­lows;

  1. Olive field: From 700 thou­sand ha to 1 mil­lion ha
  2. Olive Tree Amount: From 140 mil­lion to 180 mil­lion
  3. Table Olive Production: From 400 thou­sand tons to 650 thou­sand tons
  4. Oil Olive Production: From 800 thou­sand tons to 3 mil­lion tons
  5. Olive Oil Production: From 115 thou­sand tons to 750 thou­sand tons
  6. Olive Oil Export: From 70 thou­sand tons to 300 thou­sand tons
  7. Table Olive Export: From 50 thou­sand tons to 200 thou­sand tons
  8. Efficiency per tree : From 12 kg to 25 kg
  9. Olive Consumption per per­son: From 1 kg to 5 kg ( in other words 250 thou­sand tons)
  10. Table Olive Consumption: Will be increased to 6 kg.

We are happy to see that our min­istry is also utter­ing the same goals for our indus­try. Of course it’s impor­tant that the indus­try should be sup­ported dur­ing this process. Therefore it’d help­ful and needed to ana­lyze the future bet­ter and take actions accord­ing to that.


Related Articles

Feedback / Suggestions