500 thousand families in 41 provinces of Turkey deal with olive producing. While an average of 450 thousand tonnes of table olives are produced annually, 200 thousand tonnes of olive oil is produced. 500 thousand families earn their living from olives. There is a significant employment in factories during the harvesting, pruning of olives and the transformation process into table olives and olive oil.
The export statistics in the olive and olive oil sector; It is useful to evaluate on a seasonal basis. We left the 2019/20 olive oil season, which ended as of October 31, behind with 45 thousand tonnes of export. Last season, we exported 52 thousand tonnes of olive oil. There is a 13 percent decrease in olive oil exports. A total of 110 million dollars in foreign currency input was obtained.
Our table olive exports, which ended on September 30, decreased by 7% on amount basis to 84 thousand tonnes compared to the previous season, while we increased 3% on amount basis and earned 145 million dollars in foreign currency income. This export figure was recorded as the new export record for our industry.
Despite the decrease in quantity, the most important factor underlying the increase in our foreign exchange income was the rise in our unit price for table olives from 1.55 dollars to 1.73 dollars.
We successfully entered the 2020/21 export season. Two months behind in the new season, olive oil exports soared by 20 percent compared to the same period of the previous season, from 23.1 million to 27.8 million dollars.
When the olive oil exports are analyzed on a quantity basis; It rose from 9 thousand 734 tonnes with an increase of 13 percent to 10 thousand 951 tonnes. Turkish olive oil exporters succeeded in exporting the health elixir for 7 percent more in dollar terms in the 2020/21 season.
Our exporters have caught the biggest increase of olive oil in the United States. Health elixir exports to the USA increased by 112 percent from 5.9 million to 12.6 million dollars. The share of the USA in olive oil exports increased from 25 percent to 45 percent.
Table olive exports, which started on October 1, 2020, followed a horizontal course. Table olive exports maintained the 40 million dollars export level in the first quarter of the 2019/20 season.
While the export of black olives in table olive exports was 31 million 753 thousand dollars, the export of green olives was recorded as 8 million 241 thousand dollars. Turkey, meanwhile, exported 23 thousand 208 tonnes of table olives between October 01 and December 31 2020.
The total exports of the olive industry in the remaining part of the 2020/21 season increased by 6 percent from 65 million to 69 million dollars.
Olives are the fruit of poor soils and most of the olive trees that grow in arid lands in our country lack irrigation infrastructure. In this regard, urgent support of the Ministry is needed for drip irrigation systems, deep well drilling and electricity consumption. In addition, it is of great importance to increase the diesel and fertilizer support provided to our farmers.
We have no doubt that 1 unit of support provided by our Ministry will return to the national economy within 10 years as plus 10 units of income.
When we look at the domestic market in our industry, the most important problem is imitation and adulteration in olive oil. In order to prevent imitation and adultery, criminal sanctions should be increased and those who trade adulterated olive oil should be punished within the scope of major crimes. In case the adultery gains continuity, those concerned should be banned from trading.
Chairman of the Board of Aegean Olive and Olive Oil Exporters’ Association