Turkish olive oil producers face challenges amid export ban
Olive oil producers in Türkiye are facing multiple challenges, including the risk of losing their markets amid turmoil in the global olive market and a ban on exports.
The price of olive oil has been on the rise globally, skyrocketing more than 100 percent, due to drought in European countries and a ban the Turkish government introduced on exports in August.
Spain is the world's largest olive oil producer. Other major producers include Italy, Greece, Türkiye and Tunisia.
Türkiye annually produces some 420,000 tons of olive oil.
The ban is costing Turkish producers their export markets. As prices increase, buyers in Europe are moving away from Türkiye and turning to alternative suppliers such as Tunisia and Syria, according to people from the industry.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, olive oil prices climbed to $8,900 per ton in September. This increase was triggered by a more than 50 percent decline in Spain's production.
"Exporting our products has always been important to us. But, these days, Syria is standing out as a major oil exporting country," said Ali Uçar, the president of the local Chamber of Commerce in Ayvalık, one of Türkiye's famous districts with olives and olive oil production.
Uçar complained that companies cannot sell olive oil in bulk to European countries because of the ban. "We can only export our products to Far Eastern countries."
The export price for olive oil is around $4.5 to $5 per kilogram this season, while in the domestic market, the wholesale price is between 115 Turkish liras and 120 liras per kilogram, he said.
"If the export ban stays, those prices will have adverse effects on producers in the new season."
After the ban, foreign companies, which...