`Turkey Suspends Exports of Agricultural Products, Bulk Olive Oil - Olive Oil Times

Turkey Suspends Exports of Agricultural Products, Bulk Olive Oil

Apr. 5, 2022
Costas Vasilopoulos

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The Turkish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has tem­porar­ily banned direct exports of select agri­cul­tural prod­ucts from the coun­try, includ­ing cook­ing oils, oilseeds, mar­garine, lentils and dry beans, over con­cerns of mar­ket short­ages and a surge in infla­tion.

The ban was imposed pur­suant to a new gov­ern­men­tal reg­u­la­tion del­e­gat­ing author­ity to the min­istry to curb exports of cer­tain agri­cul­tural prod­ucts at its dis­cre­tion to sta­bi­lize the domes­tic mar­ket.

This tem­po­rary ban on the exports, which was enacted in the mid­dle of the sea­son, made most of the mem­bers of the olive sec­tor anx­ious.- Mustafa Tan, chair­man of the board, National Olive and Olive Oil Council

With respect to oils, the curb per­tains to olive oil in bulk and veg­etable oils such as sun­flower, rape­seed, soy­bean, mus­tard and cot­ton­seed oil. Turkish bot­tled olive oil was excluded from the export pro­hi­bi­tion.

A sim­i­lar and highly con­tro­ver­sial five-month export pro­hi­bi­tion of bulk olive oil was imple­mented last year in Turkey over price spec­u­la­tion and uncer­tainty caused in the coun­try’s agri-food sec­tor by the Covid-19 pan­demic.

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Ready-to-go ship­ments of grains, oilseeds, and olive oil in bulk, have also been halted by the Turkish Ministry of Trade and are kept in bonded ware­houses at Turkish ports.

Turkey, or Türkiye, after the offi­cial rebrand­ing of the coun­try’s name, also eased import require­ments for agri­cul­tural prod­ucts from Ukraine, mainly sun­flower oil, to fend off pos­si­ble mar­ket short­ages due to dis­rup­tions in ship­ments caused by the Russo-Ukrainian War.

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Turkey’s annual infla­tion rate surged to almost 49 per­cent in January, with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announc­ing a reduc­tion in value-added tax on basic food prod­ucts to lower the cost for con­sumers.

We will not let infla­tion crush our nation,” Erdoğan said.

Vahit Kirişçi, the Turkish agri­cul­ture min­is­ter, on the other hand, refuted that there were short­ages of basic food­stuffs in the coun­try.

The infor­ma­tion shared that there is not enough stock in basic food prod­ucts such as sun­flower oil is not cor­rect,” Kirişçi wrote in a tweet. Necessary mea­sures have been taken. Our coun­try has suf­fi­cient sun­flower oil stocks. Do not rely on base­less claims. There is no cause for con­cern.”

Turkey’s Aegean Olive Oil Exporters Association (EZZIB) crit­i­cized the min­istry for act­ing uni­lat­er­ally to imple­ment the export ban and asked for the exports to resume.

As the only rep­re­sen­ta­tive of olive oil exporters in Türkiye, we find the ban on olive oil export in pack­ages over five kilo­grams by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry with­out con­sult­ing the sec­tor as extremely wrong and demand that this wrong be reversed as soon as pos­si­ble,” the asso­ci­a­tion said in a press release.

Olive oil is not a sub­sti­tute for veg­etable oils,” the release added. Even if olive oil and veg­etable oil prices come to the same level, we think that there will not be a great increase in con­sump­tion in the short term.”

See Also:New Regulation in Turkey Permits Olive Tree Removals for Coal Mining

The asso­ci­a­tion also argued that the bur­den put on the coun­try’s olive oil sec­tor would be impos­si­ble and Turkish pro­duc­ers would take the rap.

Under these con­di­tions, the pro­hi­bi­tion of export­ing olive oil in pack­ages will inflict an irrepara­ble blow to the sec­tor,” the EZZIB said. Olive oil does not come from Ukraine or Russia; it is a domes­tic and national crop pro­duced with the hard work of the Turkish pro­ducer.”

The asso­ci­a­tion’s con­cerns were echoed by the chair­man of the board of Turkey’s National Olive and Olive Oil Council (UZZK), Mustafa Tan, who dis­missed the export pro­hi­bi­tion of bulk olive oil as being harm­ful to the coun­try’s olive oil sec­tor.

This tem­po­rary ban on the exports, which was enacted in the mid­dle of the sea­son, made most of the mem­bers of the olive sec­tor together with the Aegean Exporters Association anx­ious,” Tan told Olive Oil Times.

If we pro­ceed with this ban, it can dam­age Turkey’s posi­tion in mar­kets in which we are cur­rently present with our olive oil, and it will also com­pli­cate things in pos­si­ble new mar­ket entries,” he added.

Tan noted that Turkey pro­duced around 235,000 tons of olive oil in the 2021/22 crop year, while 45,000 tons were stocked at the begin­ning of the sea­son, and the coun­try’s exports reached about 50,000 tons of olive oil.

Considering the domes­tic con­sump­tion of around 150,000 tons, we can say that there is a sur­plus of nearly 80,000 tons of olive oil which should be exported,” he said. It does not seem real­is­tic to mit­i­gate the pos­si­bil­ity of a short­age of sun­flower oil and other plant-based oil aris­ing from the Russo-Ukrainian War with olive oil under cur­rent con­di­tions as an alter­na­tive oil.”

Therefore, mem­bers of the olive oil sec­tor are request­ing this tem­po­rary ban to be revoked imme­di­ately,” Tan added.

The gov­ern­men­tal reg­u­la­tion del­e­gat­ing author­ity to the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry to insti­tute export restric­tions on agri­cul­tural com­modi­ties is valid until the end of 2022.



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