On top of the avocados, kiwis and cape gooseberries they are already growing, Turkish farmers continue to lean toward new alternatives, producing different types of tropical fruit that can easily adapt to the Mediterranean region. Many products are planted in the region, with the most popular being bananas, avocados, passion fruit, pitayas, mangos and pepinos.
Farmers, currently producing for the domestic market, are also working on infrastructure for exports. In terms of tropical fruit, sector representatives say production is carried out in an area of about 20,000 decares and predict that this will at least double in the next five years.
The Tropical Fruit Production and Marketing Cooperative recently opened in southern Turkey’s Antalya province. One of the primary objectives of the cooperative, which works on the adaptation of tropical and subtropical fruits in the region, is to obtain the geographical indication of tropical fruits.
Tropical Fruit Production and Marketing Cooperative Chairman Ali Yalçın said that they aim to make the tropical products produced by their members accessible, adding that they have been producing mangos, lychees, pitayas, passion fruit and star fruit in addition to bananas and avocados, while adaptation works on a number of fruits, including coconuts, are underway.
The prices of tropical fruit are not as expensive as they were in the past. The price difference between these products and domestic fruit has dropped to TL 3-TL 4. The unit price of mangos is TL 9, pineapples TL 12 and avocado TL 5-TL 10 each, while domestic fruit such as pears, plums, peaches and grapes are sold for TL 8, TL 6, TL 8 and TL 9 per kilogram, respectively.
Mete Apaydın, a citrus producer who sells citrus fruits via portakalbahcem.com in the domestic market, noted that they have started producing tropical fruits such as passion fruit and pitayas. Underlining that it is no longer only a dream to grow tropical fruit in Turkey, Apaydın said: “It will take time for Turkish taste buds to get used to these flavours. Many are not familiar with the flavour of these products and wonder about them. As production capacity increases, domestic products will be able to compete on price with imported products.”
On the other hand, Mersin Commodity Exchange Market Chairman Abdullah Özdemir previously remarked that the global tropical product market is 31 billion dollars and that Turkey’s share in the market is not even 1.5 per 10,000.