Mersin, a city located in southern Turkey, meets 85% of the domestic demand for table apricots. This year, producers in Mersin's Mut district expect to harvest 120.000 tons of apricots. As the harvest and exports started, producers asked for a minimum pricing scheme to protect themselves from losses.
Hidir Kar, the president of Mut Chamber of Agriculture stated that apricot exports from the district have already started. The top export market for Turkish table apricots is Russia, and this is followed by European and Middle Eastern markets, Kar added.
President Kar said that table apricots cost 6 to 8 Turkish Lira (0,81 to 1,08 Euro). Kar stated his concern about some intermediary companies' intervention that would decrease the prices to the detriment of producers.
"Producers should not be at the mercy of a few traders as we've experienced in previous years. If there is no control mechanism, producers will be affected by this very quickly. We would like apricots to be regulated by the Turkish Soil Products Office (TMO) and we expect a minimum pricing scheme, as is applied in hazelnuts and wheat," said Hidir Kar.
Kar also pointed out to the recent rise in electricity prices and that this has negatively influenced apricot production.
"Our farmers have difficulty paying for the electricity that they use for irrigation. If the electricity prices are not lowered, many of our farmers will be left without electricity and production will stop as orchards remain dry in the middle of the season. Additional incentives need to be expanded," Kar added.