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Turkey’s fresh fruits and vegetables appeal to taste buds

Turkey is quite an important country for fresh fruit and vegetable production in terms of its geographical location, climate and soil properties. Almost every season and in every region of Turkey, fruit and vegetable production is possible. Here’s a review of the country’s market structure

Fresh fruits and vegetables production is an important sector in Turkish agriculture and the national economy as Turkey’s 25% of the total population is employed in the agriculture sector. Turkish fresh fruit and vegetable sub-sector has an important role because of its employment capacity.

Approximately 5 million people work in this sub-sector at various levels such as production, processing and marketing area. Also, fruit and vegetables sector is an important supply sector for processing and export industry and it is an important sector that creates demand for fertilizers, feed and pesticides besides fuel and electricity inputs.

The limited amount of arable land available in the world is an important issue in terms of providing adequate and balanced nutrition. Production and consumption of fruits and vegetables is of great importance for the solution of balanced nutrition problems. Turkey is quite an important country for fresh fruit and vegetable production in terms of its geographical location, climate and soil properties. Almost every season and in every region of Turkey, fruit and vegetable production is possible. However, certain regions are taking more interest in producing these products. For example, the Mediterranean and the Aegean region of Turkey produce 54% of the total fruit production and they produce %49 of the total vegetables production.


Supply and marketing

Marketing of fruits and vegetables is as important as the production of the products. Market structure for fruits and vegetables vary depending on the country or the product. In some cases produce can be delivered directly to the consumer by the producer. However lack of strong producer organizations increase loyalty to the intermediaries and agents and this causes an increase in the marketing margin. And also, agricultural production potential in Turkey is not yet being fully used and this issue causes problems that slow down the development of the marketing system. In order to achieve a strong industry for fruits and vegetables, improvements are needed for the production stages, processing and marketing.

The amount of fresh fruit and vegetable production in Turkey was 49.2 million tons in 2016. When examining the total production of fresh fruit and vegetables, it is observed that vegetable production has the highest share. Total production of these crops generally is higher than every individual European country. But in some crops, production is less than that of some European countries such as olive production in Spain. In Turkey vegetable production has a share of 65-66% in total fresh fruits and vegetables production. As it can be seen on the following table the share of fruit production is 33-35%. The shares of fruits and vegetables in total production have not changed much in current years. Foreign trade of fresh fruits and vegetables in Turkey Turkey fresh fruit and vegetable exports as of 2016 are 1.9 billion $. 76% of this amount is from fruits and 24% is from vegetables. When January-June 2015 exports of fresh fruits and a vegetable (according to FOB value) is analyzed, it can be seen that with the rate of decline of -18%, tomato is first with 281.3 million dollars in export value. Tomato is followed by lemon, orange, cherry, sour cherry and mandarin respectively. Decreases in the amount of exports of tomatoes, oranges, cherries and mandarin have caused to a decline of 13% in the total exports in January-June period.


Market structure

Marketing services of agricultural products begin with harvesting, collecting, and continue with storage, processing, transportation and finishes by selling to the consumer. A minor amount of some products are prepared in the production field for retailing and end user. A major part of the production is marketed at different levels of the marketing channel. Agricultural products’ marketing channels vary according to products, organization level, the country’s competitiveness and business policies. There are various marketing systems in the fresh fruit and vegetable trade in the world. Products are delivered to the consumer with a variety of marketing channels by brokers or directly. Some producers choose to deliver their goods to markets through brokers because of shipping costs. Brokers market these products to marketing channels such as retail and wholesale markets and then they are delivered to consumers through markets, supermarkets and grocery stores. In addition, producers can market their products directly to agricultural cooperatives and exporters. Another type of marketing channel can occur when fruits and vegetables are offered to the consumers by agricultural cooperatives. The longest of fresh fruit and vegetables marketing channel in Turkey; “Producer – collector – brokers (production place) – wholesale broker (consumption place) – retailer – consumer”. Markets in a traditional marketing system in Turkey; producers, wholesalers and retailers are divided into three basic groups. Producer markets are markets where producers sell their products. The wholesale markets are where collectors buy the products from producers and sell to the processing facilities and large collectors. Retailers markets are sales locations in which the product is purchased by the end consumers. Marketing problems of fruit and vegetables sector, although the sector has problems that has been indicated above in both internal and external markets.

Fresh fruit and vegetables marketing is very important in agricultural sector and market structure varies depending on the product and country. The lack of strong producers’ organizations in Turkey leads to a dependence on brokers. And this situation causes increases in marketing margin. In the agricultural sector in Turkey when producers who try to buy or sell goods directly enter the market, they are confronted with an organized trade and industry sector. Strategies that will increase the efficiency and quality of production must be determined. Marketing infrastructure should be improved. Organizations should be encouraged to provide horizontal and vertical integration. Producers should be informed about fruit and vegetable cultivation techniques and the results of the relevant researches should be communicated to the producers. In addition, producers should be encouraged to organize and the establishment of producers’ associations should be supported.

(Written by Hasan Vural from Bursa Uludag University at Horticulture International Journal Volume 2 Issue 5 – 2018.)

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