Aegean Dried Fruits and Vegetables Exporters Association became the largest exporter in the region in October. In the 2017/18 season which started on October 10th, the sector started to rise with the exportation of dried frigs and reached the peak with an export volume worth 124 million 81 thousand $. In October, the export of dried figs to 58 countries, which is worth 55 million 392 thousand $ led the dry fruit sector to the leading position of the month. Birol Celep, President of the Aegean Dried Fruits and Vegetables Exporters Association, said that in the first ten months of 2017, there was a 12% increase in the amount compared to the previous year.
In the first 10 months of 2017, how are the exports of Aegean region’s dried fruits and vegetables?
According to the Aegean Exporters’ Association (AEA) records, dried seedless grapes with 74% share in quantity is the first in dry fruit export, dried fig with quantity share of 13% is in the second place and dry apricot with 9,4% share in quantity is in the third place. According to our association’s export records, our total export volume increased by 12% while our export revenue decreased by 6%.
How are the exports across Turkey?
In Turkey, dried seedless grapes are exported with the share of 55.7% on a quantity basis has the first place, dry apricot with a share of 19.1% on a quantity basis is in the second place and dried fig with a share of 11.6% on a quantity basis in the third place. When the first 10 months of 2017 are compared to the last year, a 12% increase in quantity and a 5% decrease in value is seen.
Can you talk about the importance of innovation and product development studies in order to increase the added value of products that Turkey has the edge on such as dried figs and dried grapes?
Our industry attaches importance to innovation and new product development studies. As part of innovation studies, the Food R&D Project activity is organized every year under the coordination of AEA and our industry is in high demand. It is observed that the interest in dry fruit is increasing due to consumer consciousness towards healthy food which is increasing all over the world. In this context, it is necessary to increase the number of plantations and productions of all the dried fruits that can be produced in our country. Only Increasing the amount of production is not enough. It is necessary to increase the product quality, reduce the amount of residue and make it more suitable for human health. For this reason, our producers need to use appropriate amounts and doses of pesticides, to be trained in bringing good practices in production, harvesting, transportation, and storage into action and increase their consciousness.
What can be said about the sector’s export expectations of 2018?
The export target of our sector in 2023 is stated as 3 billion dollars. Over the years we have been working towards this target; we have worked in our target markets such as Japan, China, and South Korea and have participated in fairs in many countries. On the other hand, it expected that the variety of products would increase, plantations of goods, that are produced in our country but production of them does not meet the requirements such as dry prunes, cherries, walnuts, almonds, would be increased, business investments in these fields would be supported, and to that purpose 2B and inefficient forest lands would be assigned to producers in the relevant regions in order to make investments on dry fruit orchards. In addition, for the purpose of being processed with our goods and being packaged together in regards to our export of packaged mixed dry fruits, the export, and import of goods that are not produced enough or that are not produced at all such as tropical dry fruits should continue as part of the Inward Processing Regime. It is very important to give intensive training support to our producers in the fields of Good Agricultural Practices and Organic Farming practices and to increase the quality of the products with the agricultural supports to be provided.