Olive oil producers and exporters who demand a one-year permission to import olive oil have clashed on the issue of whether exporters should be allowed to do so.
While exporters want to import olive oil in order not to lose their international market share, producers object to the prospect on grounds that it would harm local producers.
The president of Tariş (Turkish Olive and Olive Oil Union), Cahit Çetin, claimed that the real agenda of exporters is “to put pressure on prices by creating a wave of panic.”
At a press conference at Tariş production facilities Wednesday, Çetin said Turkey aims to be the second in world olive oil production. It is possible to reach 700,000 tons of production annually in 15 years time, he said, as the number of olive trees had increased to 130 million with government support. “One should not disappoint the producer,” he said.
Çetin said the estimated production for this year was 72,000 tons, but that figure might reach 132,000 tons with present stocks. This amount is sufficient both for domestic and foreign markets, he said.
The Tariş president said that in previous years, only 2,000 tons of olive oil were imported, adding that Tariş would take every precaution to protect the interests of producers. Çetin also claimed that representatives of exporter unions opposed even the banks providing incentives to producers.
The exporter view:
Ali Nedim Güreli, chairman of the Aegean Olive and Olive Oil Exporters Union, responded to criticisms leveled by Çetin, saying that they only demanded a one-year permission to import olive oil, and that this was necessary to protect their market share in the world.
“We want to import olive oil, in order to sell it outside the European Union, just like Italy and Spain did before,” Güreli said.
Güreli also said that Turkish people are today buying olive oil that is 10 percent more expensive than in Spain and 50 percent more expensive than in Syria.
“We are also producers,” he said. “We are just trying to protect our business. Turkey is one of biggest olive oil producers in the world, but the most expensive olive oil is consumed again in Turkey, because four big companies do not let small companies deliver their products to the markets.”
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