It is an “off-year” for pistachios in Turkey, and consequently, a low production level for MY 2021/22 is being forecast. However, Turkey has carried over significant stocks from the previous year, so there is no shortage of pistachios in the market. In addition, Turkey relies on imports of almonds and walnuts to meet domestic demand for tree nuts. U.S. walnuts and almonds are still subject to retaliatory tariffs, resulting in a 10 percent higher customs tax than other tree nut-exporting countries. Turkey is the top producer of hazelnuts in the world and the largest exporter. The MY 2021/22 yield for hazelnuts is higher than last year because of good weather conditions.
There are an estimated 54 million bearing trees and about 22 million non-bearing trees in Turkey, according to the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat) as of the beginning of MY 2021/22. Bearing trees increased 4.7 percent compared to the previous marketing year and non-bearing trees increased about 8.2 percent. This increase in the number of bearing trees explains the increase in production compared to earlier off- years. Although MY 2021/22 is a low yield off-year, production is still higher than many of the earlier off-years. Also, younger bearing trees are known to be more productive than older ones.
Southeast Turkey is known to have many trees over 50 years old, so increasing the number of younger trees is expected to increase the yield. In addition, farmers are now better trained to understand the importance of male trees as they were seen as almost redundant a generation ago and not widely planted. Market sources indicate that farmers have stopped planting lentils and barley (even wheat in some cases) in order to plant pistachio trees in lands that cannot be irrigated. Many farmers believe they can make more money on pistachios.