19 Nov

Turkish Olive, olive oil exports declining dramatically

By Bora Erdin,

green olives branchThe olive and olive oil sector experienced a drastic decline in exports compared with October of last year, export figures for October 2007 revealed last week. Meanwhile, total exports of agriculture and stockbreeding sectors increased by 39.93 percent to $1.28 billion, according to the same figures.

The situation concerning olives and olive oil is not a recent one. Olive and olive oil exports have dropped by 100 percent in the last three years. Export income, which was $429 million in October 2004, fell to $27 million by 2006. One of the reasons for the decline is that olives are harvested once in two years. Low quality yields, unreliable financial backing and expensive implementation have played a key role in the decrease, according to experts.

Decline to be ongoing
Among Turkey’s olive exports, 59 percent consist of bulk olives, 21 percent in barrels and 20 percent are canned. However, the bottom is falling out of the market as the quality is dropping each year. High prices announced by Marmarabirlik, Turkey’s largest olive-producing establishment, constitute the primary reason for the decline in exports, said Aegean Olive and Olive Oil Exporters Union Chairman Ali Nedim Güreli. “Prices in Turkey are double the world prices. The price announced by Marmarabirlik is more than double the prices in Syria and Egypt, with which we are in competition. Consequently, exporters are unable to compete. Should such prices be announced, our exports may come to an end.”

“Our loss in the export market will continue. Turkey ranks second in olive exports, but the export of the first country is almost five times that of Turkey’s exports. Should our exports amount to $100 million this year, this figure will drop to $50 million next year,” said Aegean Olive and Olive Oil Exporters Union Deputy Chairman Emin Demirci.

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