Chairwoman of İzmir Commodity Exchange Işınsu Kestelli said that Turkey is one of the most important countries in the world in terms of agricultural production potential.
Kestelli said, “However we still have very important deficiencies in converting our production into foreign exchange earning activity by exporting. It is a clear indicator that we ranked 27th in total agricultural products trade when we are among the top 10 countries in production. This situation must be looked from two angles. First, the amount of export is not sufficient. The most important way to increase this is by finding new markets for our products.”
Pointing out that global economic and political conjuncture from time to time can be negative influence on finding new markets or preserving existing ones, Kestelli noted, “Still we have to continue this pursuit continuously. The second issue related to exchange revenues from agriculture is that our unit export value is still low.”
Kestelli explained, “To put it simply, we have to increase to quality and brand value of agricultural products, thus marketing these as high value added. Frankly, we have been not successful in doing this so far. By the way I would like to give an example regarding the grapes which we are the sixth largest producer with a share of 5 percent in terms of production. We have a position of being tenth largest fresh grape exporter country across the world. We made an export of 150 million dollars with an average price of 729 dollars per ton in 2019. But in the same year, other important producer countries, such as USA exported fresh grapes with 2 thousand 270 dollars per ton. Italy got a performance of one thousand 695 dollars and Chile 282 thousand dollars per ton. So USA is almost 3 times more than us and Italy is 2 times more expensive than Turkish fresh grapes in the market.”
“Although we are an important fresh grape producer; we have almost none in the global trade volume of 700 million dollars grape juice and of 35 billion dollars wine markets,” Kestelli added.
“These examples show clearly that production volume is absolutely important; but it is important as well how you market that production. Our country has to create added value in agricultural products as it is in all other sectors. I think we should mull over R&D, innovation and branding much more from now on,” Kestelli concluded…