After a slower start the Turkish citrus season has picked up some real steam, says Aksun’s marketing manager Akin Soyleyen: “We have started a bit slower than usual, as the South African citrus season from the last year was already in the markets when the Turkish season had started in the September-October period. This caused demand to be weaker than usual for the beginning of the season, however currently we’re in the peak of our production and things are going well. The concentration of the demand squeezing in a shorter period has its disadvantages, but we’re overcoming that with the help of our high production capacity.”
The competition with Egypt has heated up this year, but there is a lot of respect for the way the Egyptians do business from the Turkish exporter. “We’ve seen less competition when it comes to other supplying countries. Globally the demand for sweeter citrus is on the rise compared to sour tastes, such as red grapefruits, but that was to be expected. Egypt has always been a strong competitor when it comes to Citrus. Especially the aggressive approach they have when it comes to market reach and pricing, is something to be admired. So when they come across a shortage in any kind, that yields a good opportunity for Turkish exporters to fill in the gap and supply the buyers that are looking for larger fruits.”
The fact that the larger sizes of citrus are not easy to come by has provided Turkish citrus exporters with new opportunities, Soyleyen explains: “That has been the big win for us this year, larger sizes are easier to find in Turkey. With Egypt being short on large sizes, it opened a lot of new doors for us, as a lot of countries were still looking for bigger sizes for their citrus. We were grateful for the opportunity. We’re also paying much more attention to Far East Asia than we ever had before, including the Japanese market. We’ve increased our volumes to Japan drastically. Thanks to the lack of larger sizes on the market, we’ve had the upper hand when it comes to control of the Asian market.”
The weather has resulted in a longer citrus season for Aksun, as it’s expected the season will continue until May this year. “Due to the change of global climate conditions we never really had any winter weather until now. The temperatures are constantly higher than normal, which helps with the harvesting periods and the general integrity of the fruit. With this in mind, we are expecting to prolong the season until May under current circumstances,” Soyleyen concludes.
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