`Turkey Braces for Economic Impact of Erratic Weather - Olive Oil Times

Turkey Braces for Economic Impact of Erratic Weather

Sep. 9, 2014
Olive Oil Times Staff

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Stone houses and olive trees in Turkey

Turkey is fac­ing an unprece­dented agri­cul­tural cri­sis fol­low­ing extreme weather con­di­tions.

The Middle Eastern coun­try — which is the sec­ond-largest pro­ducer of table olives and fourth-largest of olive oil — has expe­ri­enced a range of extreme weather con­di­tions in the last year that will undoubt­edly effect its har­vest. Erratic pat­terns of drought, frost and heavy rain have been hard on olive trees around the coun­try.

According to Şemsi Bayraktar, pres­i­dent of the Turkish Union of Agricultural Chambers, the widely vary­ing con­di­tions are unprece­dented.” He is call­ing on the gov­ern­ment to take action in the form of restruc­tur­ing elec­tric­ity bills and social secu­rity pay­ments of agri­cul­tural work­ers, who are set to bear the brunt of the finan­cial bur­den caused by a lousy har­vest.

Ziraat Bankası, the state-owned agri­cul­tural bank, has offered pro­grams to defer worker debts, but Bayraktar says these efforts have not helped enough.

According to Marmara Union of Olive Sales Cooperatives, the weather woes have caused a 75 per­cent decrease in crop yield com­pared to last year in the country’s worst-effected areas.

In an inter­view with Bloomberg, union chair­man İbrahim Minareci explained that the weather fluc­tu­a­tions have caused an imbal­anced mar­ket for olives, forc­ing many pro­duc­ers to sell their unpack­aged, unprocessed olives to other olive-pro­duc­ing coun­tries, result­ing in a far less favor­able eco­nomic return.

Turkey cur­rently has a 16.7 per­cent global share of olive oil pro­duc­tion hold­ing the num­ber four spot, but the gov­ern­ment has ramped up eco­nomic incen­tives in hopes of boost­ing the coun­try to num­ber two sta­tus. Assistance has come in the form of sub­si­dies and tax breaks to help cover the expenses of the first few years of the cul­ti­va­tion of new olive trees, when the trees do not bear fruit.

Extreme weather con­di­tions are pro­jected to impact olive har­vests and olive oil prices world­wide this year.


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