For one Turkish apple exporter, the Gala is already out of stock, as there was a lot of demand for this apple variety according to Mehmet Çakmak, sales and marketing manager for Turkish fresh produce exporter Ani Tarim:
“Our apple season has started in August with the Gala variety. Due to high demand, this variety is already depleted from our stocks. Currently, we offer and load Red Delicious, Golden Delicious and Granny Smith varieties for domestic and international markets. The main export destination of our apples is India. Unlike the same week of last season, we see a weak demand from this market this season. In our view, there are two main reasons behind this. Despite the low crop in 2023 harvest, Indian local apples are still available in high quantities. There has also been an increase in European and US suppliers, so many apples arrived in India in October and November.”
Ani Tarim wasn’t fazed by the presence of more competition in the Indian market. Çakmak expects requests for Turkish apples to increase in the new year. “This is not unexpected situation for us, as our buyers already informed us about the possibility of higher competition in the market this season. Indian consumers like to eat the Red Delicious variety and Turkey is the largest producer of this variety among its competitors, and can offer it in high quality until June-July. Thus, we think that the increase in demand for Turkish apples may start after new year.”
Overall the apple production was only slightly lower among the Turkish apple producers, Çakmak explains: “Türkiye produced about 4.8 million tons of fresh apples in 2022 and it is expected to be around 4.7 million tons in 2023 season. Last year, with a 7.3% increase compared to 2021, 380,492 tons out of the total crop were loaded by Turkish suppliers, for export to 69 different countries, generating 166,488 million USD value. India became the largest consumer of Turkish apples, importing 100,496 tons, secondly Russia 80,981 tons and thirdly Iraq 51,823 tons in 2022.”
“Turkish suppliers are aware that next to lowering our production costs and conducting more effective marketing activities, we should necessarily diversify our markets and varieties in the coming years, to be more competitive in the international apple business. This was one of the main topics which were discussed in the second National Apple Workshop, an event organised on a national scale by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry on 21-22 November in Eğirdir/Isparta. After its first version in 2012, the workshop brought all the shareholders together, including exporters, growers, and institutions, and provided sophisticated evaluations about the current situation of Turkish apple sector and set new goals for the future for all shareholders in the frame of Workshop’s Action Plan,” Çakmak concludes.