The Yahyali district in Kayseri, a city located in central Turkey, is known for its sweet apple production, however the Yahyali Chamber of Agriculture underlines the need for modernization to increase the production capacity of the growers. The annual production is around 85,000 tons which showed a 20 % increase compared to previous years. The hope of the government officials is to increase the production numbers even more in the near future with the modernization of the growing methods.
Another important apple production area in Turkey is Isparta, a city located in western part of Turkey. This year the production volume in Isparta is expected to be around 630,000 tons. Isparta is responsible for almost 25 % of all Turkish apple production and according to the figures provided by Turkish Statistical Institute, apple production area in the city is around 23,100 hectares. Last year the production volume was around 617,000 tons and this year’s estimated number shows a modest increase over last year. Apple prices in the market are currently around 0.30 USD per kg which has been satisfactory for the growers.
Apple harvest has also started in Denizli, another important production region for apples which is responsible for 20 % of the apple production in the country. The growers note that the price in local market is around 0,20 USD per kg for their apples and in export market the prices go up to 0.30 USD per kg.
Nigde is also known for its major share in apple production with an annual production volume of 429,000 tons which puts the city into the 3rd position among Turkish apple growing cities. A major grower in Nigde, Atilla Kapla: “Our production expectation for this season is around 5,000 tons. We also grow around 1 million apple seedlings annually. Right now we have started harvesting products and we will be exporting this year to India, Bangladesh, Qatar, Kuwait, Libya and Russia. Export market is an important opportunity for Turkish apple growers as it also helps us to set up the price in negotiations for local market.”
Turkey Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Wholesalers Association also expressed their high hopes for apple exports in the upcoming season. The officials from the association noted that Turkey is the 5th biggest apple growing country in the whole world with a production volume of 2.7 million tons and has potential to reach the top if the growers can solve some of the issues in production. The production expectation for this year is 3 million tons and the association has announced the export target for this season as 500,000 tons, a significant increase over last year’s export volume of 108,000 tons.
In order to achieve this goal, the association has been actively seeking new markets and carrying out marketing and promotional activities in these new target markets. Currently most of the apple exports are sold to Middle East, Russia, Egypt and to some European countries.
Speaking to the press, Association Interim Chairman Halil Ozturk: “Our growers need to grow different varieties for different countries because each country has different preferences. For instance Russian consumers prefer less sweet varieties of apples. If our growers take into account the market demands and preferences when they are making their production planning, we can reap its benefits in the export market. I believe we will triple or quadruple last year’s export numbers in this season.”