Ayse Ozler on the Turkish citrus season

“Saudi Arabia’s unofficial ban on Turkish fresh produce needs solution”

The year 2019 was full of challenges for Turkish citrus. Weather did not play nice for the entire season and as a total surprise, Saudi Arabia put an unofficial ban for Turkish fresh produce in place. On top of that the floods that took place last year impacted the 2019-2020 yield severely.

For Turkish citrus exporter Ozler Ziraat, every season comes with its unique set of challenges and the year 2019 was no exception, says Ayse Ozler. “As with every season it’s been one filled with challenges.

As challenges change every year, dealing with them is what keeps working in this business a lot of fun! We had a difficult start to the season, but things are getting better now. Due to last season's heavy rainfall and flood in citrus areas, the 2019-2020 crop yield was very badly affected. The yield of most citrus varieties has been very low and that made the on-tree price of the fruits very high, due to high costs in the farm. Expensive cost price has been an important disadvantage for all exporters and our clients. Nobody is a winner.”

The Mayer lemons and red grapefruits have performed the best in 2019, says Ozler. “Since Interdonato crop yield was so low and cost of the fruit was so high, Mayer lemon could replace Interdonato as a cheaper alternative lemon to offer to both to our export markets and the local market. The Mayer lemons had a normal yield this year. Other than that, our grapefruits are doing well, also partly because yield and cost prices were normal and partly because quality has been and still is very good this year.”

There was one very unpleasant surprise this year for Ozler Ziraat, as Saudi Arabia started to unofficially boycott fresh produce from Turkey. “The Saudi Arabia situation, there is nothing we can do to overcome it unfortunately. It’s a political situation that needs a solution from the top of the chain in two countries. And Saudi Arabia is one of the most important export markets for Turkey for all vegetables and fruits. The ongoing situation is a disastrous loss for our sector. So for 2020, our wish is not to enter a new market; I just hope that we, as Turkish exporters, can get back to doing business with one of our oldest and biggest market.”

In a positive note, Ozler Ziraat wishes for better weather conditions in the new year, so that the sector can recover from this disastrous season. “Better weather conditions would allow us to prolong our citrus season as late as possible. Last seasons' disastrous rains and floods, which took place in January, February and March, not only caused our season to finish early, but affected this season's (2019-2020) harvest crop in a drastically negative way causing 40 to 75% lower yields with many varieties of citrus. As exporters, we hope that our government will achieve some progress on signing a protocol with China for Turkish citrus fruits so we can gain access to the market.” Ozler concludes.

For more information:
Ayse Ozler
Ozler Ziraat
Tel: +90 533 580 9260
Email: ayseozler@ozlerziraat.com 

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