22 Nov

Interest in Olive Growing Continues in Turkey

From Anadolu News Agency (aa), Izmir

The rise of olive oil prices in recent years, quotas on tobacco production and incentives for olive growers have fostered a renewed interest in olive growing. The number of olive tree saplings ordered for the next season has already reached 54 million.

It is estimated that if Turkey, which has 150 million olive trees in total with 40 million trees planted in the last 3-4 seasons, continues at this speed, it will surpass Italy and be the second biggest olive grower in the world after Spain, which has 270 million olive trees.

Besides farmers, other entrepreneurs in sectors such as ready-to-wear or construction have developed an interested in the olive business.

Ali Nedim Gureli, vice president of the Aegean Olive and Olive Oil Exporters Union, said that 204 certified firms are growing olive saplings to meet next year’s demand. New investors from various fields entering the market have greatly contributed to the demand for olive tree saplings.

“The more powerful investors we have in the sector, the stronger lobbying power we have. Turkey has solved its production problem, and now it has to make a reasonable plan to be able to more effectively market the product in its hands. We should be able to sell 250 thousand tons of olive oil to world markets in five years time,” said Gureli.

Gureli also noted that they were working on solving the problem caused by the European Union wanting an import quota for Turkey.

In return, the Union is asking Ankara to lift quotas on importing livestock. The government is researching other sectors where they can lift quotas.

Gureli is of the opinion that the problem will be solved shortly and the doors will be opened to the Union.

Olive growers are also trying to form a group with whom they can advertise their olives to the Brazilian and Russian markets in the coming seasons.

Gureli also stated that the domestic consumption was also not at expected levels and the group was ready to launch advertising campaigns to spread the olive consumption culture.

According to statistics from the Aegean Olive and Olive Oil Exporters Union, Turkey reached its highest export levels with $294 million dollars in the 2004-2005 season.

The sector exported 40 percent of its olives to Italy and 20 percent to the U.S., with a 60 percent rise when compared to the previous year.

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