05 Jul

Turkey: Olive suffers from changing climate

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By Gözde Aslantaþ,

olve in treeDramatic fall in this year’s olive oil production raises anxiety with producers, while the National Olive and Olive Oil Committee (UZZK) tries to define Turkey’s goal and place among the world’s top three olive oil producers.

Opposing UZZK’s goals is the loss in olive orchards that is growing every day. Producers called for urgent action to make their point, while authorities of leading companies in the sector started to carry out studies and make field observations.

Meanwhile UZZK Executive Committee President Mehmet Tan said the committee is carrying out studies to fix the loss. “Our team has started researches in the field. The data about productivity will give accurate results in September. June is too early to make certain comments. Yet, we sent our friends to make early inspections,” he said.

Losing hope
The olive production of last year, though below expectations, was about 166,000 ton. Farmers, this year, are doubtful that production will reach that number. Producer Emin Urgun from Bergama said that even though harvest was low last year, they were in a better condition then today.

Indicating that their loss was big, Urgun said, “It is hard to give a definite figure. Yet, I can say that our loss is about 70 percent due to changing climate and heat waves. The farmers in Çandarlý Gulf and environs suffer the same problems.”
“Though it is too early to comment, 2007 production seems to be low. Everyone is on alert,” said Hasan Bölükoðlu, another producer.

Traders are also affected as they are losing a large amount of money. “We buy the olive from the farmer, brine it and sell it to companies. The farmer’s loss is big and so is ours. The crop was not only harmed by the drought, but also by the hail,” said Ersin Aydeniz, an olive broker.

Emergency meeting:
Tariþ Olive Company and Olive Oil Union met recently to discuss the latest situation in the Aegean region. A committee of experts was formed to carry out further studies. In order to control quality and quantity committees were formed in Ezine, Edremit, Burhaniye, Ayvalýk and Zeytindað.

The committees are to produce statistics, form database, carry out field specification studies, control quality and register trademarks and have the right to use a geographical mark. During the meeting, new regulations and methods for supervisions and applications were designated and practical difficulties were discussed. Participants, authorized for supervision and research, exchanged ideas and tried to find common methods to solve their problems.
The Ezine Chamber of Agriculture, the Bergama Chamber of Commerce, the Aliaða Chamber of Agriculture, the Bornova Olive Research Institute, the Ayvalýk Chamber of Commerce and Tariþ Olive and Olive Oil Union agreed on taking part in the supervision committees.
Ersezgin Companies Group Food Department Chief Naci Özgen drew attention to the producer’s loss, which exceeds estimates, while calling for action to form public opinion. “The loss is not only in olive harvest. The farmers in Antalya, Aydýn, Ýzmir, Balýkesir and Çanakkale are demanding urgent action,” he said.

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