Cahit Doğan Yağcı, Chairman of Aegean Furniture Paper and Forestry Products Exporters’ Association, made an evaluation of January-June period of 2020…
“At the end of 2019, which was a successful year for the Aegean Furniture Paper and Forestry Products Exporters’ Association, we said that for the year 2020, in order to reach our export goal of 750 million dollars, ‘We will work with the Value Added, Sustainable Production and Export Target.'”
Of course, while we were making these plans, the world had not yet encountered the Covid-19 virus. Due to the Covid-19 virus, while there were serious contractions in both domestic and foreign markets throughout the world in the first half of 2020, there was a shrinkage in the world economy and a great decrease in the number of employees.
In the first half of 2020, our Furniture Paper and Forestry Products industry brought in 2 billion 491 million dollars to our country with a 5 percent contraction in exports compared to the first half of last year.
While our furniture and paper exports decreased in the first half of 2020, when the pandemic was felt most intensely, our non-wood forestry products exports, dominated by thyme, laurel and sage, rose by 16 percent from 69 million dollars to 80 million dollars, as they strengthen the immune system.
So as to reach the 750 million dollars export target we set for 2020; We declared 2020 as the ‘Year of Sustainability’. In order to diversify our markets and products and to ensure that our exports are constantly increasing for the sustainability of our growth, we set out a business programme covering all our sub-sectors. We placed design and branding at the centre of our works.
Turkey provides 65 percent of the world production in thyme and 95 percent in laurel. Considering that approximately 3500 endemic plant species grow in our country, our exported products range should increase. We continue to cooperate with all relevant institutions for the Sustainable Forestry Policy.
While we have foreign trade surplus in furniture and non-wood forestry products, which are the three main export items of our Association, we have a foreign trade deficit in the paper sector. In order to reverse this cycle, we are in contact with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry to establish industrial forest plantations that will increase the production of cellulose, which is the biggest need of the industry.
We aim to increase the export figures with the fair, trade delegation and purchasing delegation organizations that we will hold in the second half of 2020.
We started our efforts to organize a virtual fair organization for all food sectors in digital environment between 12-16 October 2020, under the coordination of the Ministry of Trade and the organization of the Aegean Exporters Associations.
Buyers from many countries around the world, especially from the USA, China, Middle East countries, Germany and England, will participate in our digital food fair and will hold bilateral meetings with our exporters. Simultaneously with the fair, various gastronomy events and webinars with the participation of experts will be held.”