In the panel that took place at the 10th Ayvalık Olive Harvest Days, the rise of internal consumption, and the problems in the manufacturing of olive and olive oil were discussed.
At the Cunda Cultural Center, a panel convened with the theme “olive oil binds you to life,” organized. Namık Kemal Nazlı, the governor of Ayvalık,
Local officials and olive sector representatives from Spain, Greece, Italy, Morocco and Jordan attended the panel.
Neşet Akkoç, the deputy secretary of the customs and trade ministry, indicated that in the past 10 years, olive oil consumption rose from 900 grams to 2 kilograms per capita in Turkey.
As for exports, since May, 2014, there have been presentations to countries like Japan, China, Canada, Brazil and USA. Akkoç mentioned that Turkey has only 4 percent of the world olive oil market, and this is not enough. He emphasized that manufacturers should unite, establish a brand and find new markets.
The moderator of the panel Ümmühan Tibet, the president of National Olive & Olive Oil Union, mentioned that by 2023, Turkey is targeting to reach the second spot in exporting, behind only Spain.
The chairman of the board of Ayvalık Chamber of Commerce, Benhan İbrahim Kantarcı said that his aim was to make the Harvest Days an international event and this year that was achieved. Now, the priority is to increase olive oil consumption to 3 liters, and make the Turkish olive oil known to the world.
Districts like Ayvalık, Edremit, Gemlik, Burhaniye, Didim joined the Mediterranean Olive Oil Cities Network (Re.C.O.Med) which was established in Spain and had 13 member countries, including Turkey.
Elisa Scuto, general secretary of Re.C.O.Med, gave information about the union which has made efforts toward the recognition of olive cultivation in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The panel also discussed a mining law proposal which would sanction the destruction of olive groves in Turkey. The “olive is the life” campaign to stop the measure has collected so far 156,000 signatures.
Soledad Serrano, the president of QvExtra International, a non-profit organization with a purpose to promote top quality in olive oil and make manufacturers act in unison, lamented that olive manufacturers are getting poorer each day in Spain, the world’s leading olive oil producer.
Gürkan Renklidağ, the chairman of Aegean Exporters of Olive & Olive oil union, repeated his group’s demands for incentives for table olive production for the purpose of improving industrialization and product packaging.
Renklidağ added that the union has prepared public television announcements to raise awareness in Turkey and he indicated that Turkey’s investment in olives and olive oil is an investment in the future of the country.