Producers Puzzled by Turkish Ban on Bulk Olive Oil Exports

In a season where 220,000 tons were produced, Turkey has stopped bulk olive oil exports until the end of next October.
Apr. 22, 2021
Costas Vasilopoulos

Recent News

Exports of olive oil in bulk have been put on hold in Turkey.

After a request from the coun­try’s Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, the Ministry of Commerce imposed a ban on olive oil exports in bulk effec­tive until October 31, 2021, on the grounds of the uncer­tainty caused by the Covid-19 pan­demic and fears of infla­tion in the country’s econ­omy.

Approximately 55 per­cent of our exports are in bulk. Under these con­di­tions, we do not see the ban on the export of bulk olive oil as the right move.- Aegean Olive Oil Exporters Association, 

However, olive oil pack­aged in bot­tles or bar­rels is free to be exported as usual. Furthermore, taxes imposed on imported sun­flower, canola and saf­flower oil have been waived in the coun­try until July 1.

At the moment, every­body is com­plain­ing about uncer­tainty,” said Harun Seçkin, the head of the Food and Control depart­ment of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry of Turkey. We do not know what will hap­pen tomor­row. Some coun­tries, espe­cially in terms of oil, buy more than their needs.”

See Also: Trade News

In this frame­work, we thought that a restric­tion on the export of our olive oil in bulk would be appro­pri­ate,” he added. There is no prob­lem in export­ing pack­aged and bot­tled [olive oil]. It is not right for us to export the oil we have in bulk in this uncer­tain envi­ron­ment.”

Seçkin also said that the price of sun­flower oil is almost equal to the price of olive oil. He also main­tained that the export ban aims to pre­vent prod­uct short­ages and secure rea­son­able prices for domes­tic con­sumers.

It is also a deci­sion in favor of the con­sumer,” he said. It pro­tects the con­sumer in terms of both price and prod­uct avail­abil­ity.”

Turkey imposed a sim­i­lar ban back in December 2001, which had restricted exports of olive oil in bulk until the end of October 2002 and had caused con­tro­versy in the sec­tor.

The curb put on Turkish bulk olive oil exports came in a sea­son where olive oil pro­duc­tion is expected to reach 220,000 tons, accord­ing to data released by the European Commission in March.

The Aegean Olive Oil Exporters Association (EZZIB) of Turkey rejected the export pro­hi­bi­tion and said there is an ade­quate quan­tity of Turkish olive oil to be exported.

Exports [of olive oil] are at low lev­els com­pared to past sea­sons,” a writ­ten state­ment of the asso­ci­a­tion read. Turkey’s annual domes­tic con­sump­tion is 140,000 tons, and we have around 60,000 to 70,000 tons that can be exported.”

Approximately 55 per­cent of our exports are in bulk,” the EZZIB added. Under these con­di­tions, we do not see the ban on the export of bulk olive oil as the right move.”

See Also: Olive Oil Prices Hit Two-Year High in Spain

In the last two har­vest­ing sea­sons, more than half of the exports of Turkish olive oil were in bulk. In the cur­rent 2020/21 sea­son, 16,653 tons of olive oil were exported from November 1 until February 28, of which 47 per­cent was shipped abroad in bulk, four per­cent in bar­rels and the remain­ing 49 per­cent as bot­tled olive oil.

Exporters also claimed that the ban in the mid­dle of the sea­son could cause sig­nif­i­cant eco­nomic dam­age to Turkish olive oil pro­duc­ers and exporters.

We expect a for­mula from the two min­istries so that the bulk olive oil export ban does not harm the pro­ducer and exporter,” Davut Er, the chair­man of EZZIB, said. The ban on bulk exports of olive oil of Turkey advances the dam­age to hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars.”

The exporters rejected the jus­ti­fi­ca­tion they received from the gov­ern­ment that olive oil prices will increase food infla­tion” and accused the mar­ket chains of the coun­try of con­vinc­ing the gov­ern­ment to impose the ban to increase the avail­able quan­ti­ties of olive oil and sell at lower prices.

In my opin­ion, this deci­sion has affected the strate­gies of exporters and pro­duc­ers,” Suzan Kantarci, an NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition panel mem­ber from Turkey, told Olive Oil Times.

She said that the ban might lead pro­duc­ers to focus more on qual­ity and cause them to enter more com­pe­ti­tions in an effort to make their indi­vid­u­ally-pack­aged prod­ucts stand out.

They may plan to enter the American mar­ket with NYIOOC com­pe­ti­tion medals on their boxed pack­ages,” Kantarci added.

For the 2021 NYIOOC there are 87 entries from Turkey, more than dou­ble the sub­mis­sions from the coun­try last year, accord­ing to the com­pe­ti­tion’s orga­niz­ers.

See Also: The Best Olive Oils from Turkey

The restric­tion on exports also baf­fled olive oil pro­duc­ers in the coun­try, who tried to con­nect the dots and explain the ban.

I think one can only spec­u­late about the rea­sons,” one pro­ducer told Olive Oil Times. The olive har­vest in Turkey was nor­mal and the prices were not high either. One pos­si­ble rea­son could be the ris­ing infla­tion in Turkey.”

The gov­ern­ment may be try­ing to fight infla­tion by keep­ing food in the coun­try,” the pro­ducer added. This is also sup­ported by the fact that not only olive oil but many other edi­ble oils are affected by this export ban.”





Advertisement

Related News

Feedback / Suggestions