A lack of rain early in the growing season will likely lead to a delayed start to this year's leek harvest in Turkey. But though the start of the season will be pushed back this year, volume is not expected to suffer, as the duration of this year's harvest is expected to remain the same as that of previous seasons.
“We will probably start harvesting leeks in December, and that's because we just started to get some rain,” said Yunus Severoglu of Mandalin. “We will continue until April, so we'll have some late leeks.”
Mandalin centers their production in the south eastern part of Turkey, and Yunus noted that they expect volumes similar to previous seasons despite the delayed harvest. The reason for this is that the entire season has simply shifted later in the year, so he expects to harvest about 2,000 tons of leeks this year, just as in previous years.
The late start to the season might even be beneficial for growers, as the cold weather gives the vegetables a better appearance and heftier weight. Though growers didn't plan for a late start, the colder weather in December will bring some benefits. The variety that will benefit from that cold, and the only kind that Mandalin harvests, is the long green leek. That, along with the Bursa leek, which is harvested even later than the long green, is the only variety grown in Turkey. Because Belgian leeks are of a different variety, and Europeans typically prefer that variety, Turkey often has to compete with Belgium on price. But if there's decent snow in Belgium, Turkish growers could get a piece of the European market.
“Most of our exports go to Europe, and about 60 percent of those exports go to Poland,” said Yunus. “Competition in Poland mostly comes from Belgium, and if there's little snow, like there was last season, then we can't compete. But if it's a normal season, with enough snow, then we can compete there.” The remaining 40 percent of Mandalin's production that goes to Europe is evenly split between Italy and Austria, though Yunus explained that they could send more product to Russia this year. While he is usually hesitant to work in the Russian market because it is often notoriously difficult to secure payment from buyers after produce has been shipped, the high demand for fresh produce in Russia has changed the situation this year.
“Russians don't have anywhere else to go for product because of the ban on European goods, so they're coming here and they're offering cash in advance,” said Yunus. “Normally, I don't go to Russia. But if they're paying cash in advance, then I will sell to them.”
Mandalin – Turkey
tel. 0090 324 646 36 43
mob. 0090 532 435 25 75