Traditionally, 99% of the Bursa black variety figs come from Turkey’s Bursa area, with a season starting in late August or early September. About 7 years ago, however, the company Özler Ziraat, based in southern Turkey, decided to start planting nearby Adana, which due to its climate is the country’s earliest agricultural production area.
Shareowner and Commercial director Ayse Ozler states that “We expect the fig harvest to start next week. Volumes will still be limited and we’ll do exclusive air shipments to Switzerland, the Middle East and Far East destinations, like Hong Kong and Singapore.”
Addressing the current situation in these markets, she affirms that, in Switzerland, this fig variety is considered a niche product, because by time they hit the market “Brazil is almost finished and the only other big supplier left is Israel. We are also very competitive in the Middle East, where Israel doesn’t have access due to political reasons. In the Far East it has also become a bit of a niche product over the past 6 years.” She assures that one of the reasons for the fruit’s growing popularity in Asia is its health benefits. “They are rich in fibre, which is a very important characteristic for Asian consumers.”
As for this season’s prospects, she explains that while the fruit is looking good so far, it won’t be possible to ascertain its quality until the harvest starts. “What we do know already is that the yield will be lower due to changes in the climate conditions. We are actually starting with a week’s delay compared to last year,” although it is worth noting, in any case, that this season every summer crop (cherries, grapes, tomatoes, etc.) from Turkey is starting late.
In any case, Ms Ozler states that despite there being competitors in the market, the standards met by the figs grown in Turkey is such, that “Whenever Turkey is starting, customers prefer it, since our quality is far superior to that of Brazil, Peru and even Israel at this moment.” As a result, there’s always stable demand for Turkish figs in the European market.