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Coşkun Eren – Erentarim
Slow start for Turkish lemon season
The new lemon season in Turkey is off to a slow start. This goes especially for Interdonato lemons. The main reason for the slow market is the volume, which is significantly lower than last year. Another reason for the sluggish Turkish season is the fact that South Africa has managed to extend its lemon season up to the end of October.
According to Coşkun Eren of the Turkish company Eren Tarim, this makes it very hard to market the expensive Interdonato lemon on the European and Far Eastern market. “Other varieties aren’t affected as much. The season is very similar to last year for Meyer lemons and other types of citrus, like grapefruit, mandarins or oranges.”
The season for Interdonato is nearly finished and Eren Tarim is set to switch over to the production of Lamas lemons. “Lamas lemons are quite okay in volume and quality, so we’re very excited for this. Quality has been pretty good all year round. The Interdonato lemons had some issues with skin defects, but we’re trying our best to select the best fruit for export. Similar issues were present with mandarins, so you have to be cautious of skin defects. Overall, internal quality has been good.”
The prices for lemons are high, which is mainly due to the reduced volumes for Interdonato lemons. As the Interdonato season is on its last legs, prices seem to return to normal. “After a few weeks prices will balance themselves out. There was pressure this year from South African lemons, as these were cheap and still available at the end of October."
Eren added that there is still a market for Turkish lemons as Spanish lemons are even more expensive. Other citrus varieties have normal prices and Turkey is having good results with mandarins and grapefruits. "The season for oranges hasn’t really started yet, except for the Navelina variety. We’re currently waiting for Washington Navels to get enough volume to enter the orange market,” explains Eren.
Weak eastern markets
For Eren Tarim, North American markets like Canada are becoming increasingly important. The main reason is that the markets in the Far East are becoming more and more crowded. “Both China, Egypt, South Africa and Turkey all enter the Far Eastern market during the same season. I believe next year will be even worse in terms of market competition, so we need to look for other distant markets. North America seems to be a very good candidate."
“The Far East was a very disappointing market this year. Chinese lemons were very cheap due to bad quality. I reckon the Chinese sector is hurting more than ours at present. For this reason, we’ve shifted our markets to Canada and Europe. Pricing and season duration are the main reasons for this new direction.”
According to Eren, the re-export area is somewhat of a new market for his company. “We are already exporting to over 60 countries. This year we struck up several relations with international companies, whose customer base is spread over a large number of countries. We’ve also started working with companies in Argentina and Egypt, to offer re-export services to our partners both during the on and off season.”
Eren Tarim has renovated its cold storage facilities to adhere to the standards of 2017. The cold rooms are equipped with AI controlled CO2 and humidity sensors and new ventilation hardware. “We’ve now got the capacity for the storage 2000 tons of produce. We’ve also taken big steps towards implementing new software to manage our operations in a more efficient way. We’ve renovated our website to modern standards, which you can see for yourself at www.erentarim.com . Chinese and Russian versions are coming very soon.”
“Our strategy is to show our quality and reliable service. This has been Eren Tarim’s strategy for the past ten years. With Eren Tarim, there are no surprises. You get what you order. If you want a certain size, a certain quality standard or a fixed amount of kilograms, you will get it. We deliver what we say and we say what we'll deliver. We encourage our customers to sell our produce even during transit, before they get to see it themselves. That’s how confident we are in our service,” says Coşkun in conclusion.
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