Vegetal production is the leading sector of Turkish agriculture, and vegetal perishables constitute the backbone of the sector. The availability of diverse ecological conditions has resulted in growing all temperate, most subtropical and some tropical products. According to the latest figures of Turkish Statistical Institute, with a massive amount of 51.6 million tons in 2017, around 45% of Turkey’s total vegetative production derives from the fruit and vegetables sector.
Table 1: Turkish Fresh Fruits & Vegetables Production (1000 Tons)
Table 1 illustrates the production of major fresh Turkish Fresh Fruits and vegetables and the diversity of products. According to the TurkStat total fresh fruit and vegetable production is 11,5% up from 44.3 million tons to 51.6 million in 2017 mainly due to significant increase in some production such as citrus fruits and grapes.
12.7 million tons of production makes tomatoes the most produced vegetable in 2017. Tomato production increased by 1,2%. Accordingly, its share in the total production is accounted for 24,7% in the same year. Watermelons and melons, having a share of 10,2% in overall fresh fruit and vegetable production, ranked the second. Production of these vegetables decreased by 8,6% from 5,8 million to 5,3 million tons in 2017. Grapes are the other major crop in Turkey’s fresh fruit and vegetable output with production of 4.2 million tons, and constitute 8,1% of the annual production.
With a share of 8,8%, citrus fruit production has utmost importance in the vegetative production. Within total citrus output of almost 4,7 million tons, oranges account for 1,9 million tons and the rest of the group; including tangerines, grapefruits and lemons, constitutes 2,8 million tons. Turkey is the leading producer and exporter of fresh figs in the world. “Bursa Siyahi” grown in the Bursa province and “Mut Figs” grown in Mut are the most popular varieties in world’s fresh consumption in terms of production and export.
Pome fruits are the second group in order of importance in Turkish Fresh Fruits cultivation. Apples were the most outstanding species of this group with an annual average production figure of approximately 3 million tons in 2017. Quinces of which, the production dates back to early ages, used to be fruits grown only for domestic consumption but parallel to the increasing demand for exotic fruits in the world, Turkish quinces have lately become potentially popular among our fruits. Stone fruits, taking a share of 5,6% in overall fruit and vegetable production, rank fifth.
This group involves apricots, peaches, plums, cherries and sour cherries. Crispy cucumbers are excellent for salads with their juicy flesh and pleasant taste. All these qualities make them highly popular among buyers. Cucumbers are one of the traditional vegetables grown in Turkish greenhouses. Stuffing peppers, green peppers and capsicums together represent annual production of 2,6 million tons on average. Besides outdoor cultivation, greenhouse production has been widely used in recent years. In addition to the above-mentioned products, many vegetables are available all year round thanks to adaptation of greenhouse production techniques.
Major products grown in greenhouses are tomatoes, cucumbers, green peppers, eggplants, squashes, etc. The demand for organic products has also created new export opportunities for Turkey. Owing to her great production potential, Turkey has started exporting remarkable quantities of organically grown fresh fruits and vegetables in recent years. Turkish fresh fruit and vegetable exporters are aware of the health and environmental considerations of customers and satisfy their needs by offering products which comply with both legislative and market requirements.
Instruments such as ISO 9001, ISO 22000, HACCP, GAP and THE GLOBALGAP are indicators of quality, food safety and environmental consciousness. Turkish exporters have been successfully adopting these requirements which have an impact on world fresh fruit and vegetables trade.
Turkish Fresh Fruits and Vegetables EXPORTS
The value of fresh fruit and vegetables exports which constitute around 12,9% of total agricultural exports were approximately 2.2 billion USD 12,5% up compared to the previous year in 2017. Citrus fruits led the list among exportable fresh fruits with a significant value of 853 million USD in 2017. Mandarins (335 million USD) rank first in total citrus fruit exports in terms of value and major export variety is “Satsuma”. Turkish lemons, second with 293 million USD, are available throughout the year thanks to natural and modern cold storage facilities.
Major export varieties are “Interdonato” and “Lamas”. On the other hand, tomatoes have a significant place in total fresh fruit and vegetables exports with a share of 13,3%, which corresponds to 290 million USD. Other major exported crops are grapes with 9% share and cherries which account for 7,3% of total fresh fruit and vegetable exports. The volume of Turkish sweet cherry exports has shown remarkable increase in the last decade due to the fact that they are gaining great popularity among buyers owing to their high quality, attractive appearance and delicious taste.
Among table grapes, “Sultana” is the most popular export variety. In the meantime, Turkish exotic fruits namely figs, quinces and pomegranates are becoming more and more familiar to foreign importers. In the last five years Turkey’s fresh fruit and vegetables have become very popular and thanks to this popularity, are being shipped to more than 120 destinations (including free zones) throughout the world. Turkey has begun to enhance her market shares in the CIS, the EU, Middle East and the Gulf countries. Other principal export product of the fresh vegetables sector are cucumbers-gherkins, peppers and onions.
The Russian Federation, Iraq, Germany, Ukraine, Romania, and Ukraine have been major destinations for Turkish fresh fruits and vegetables. The Russian Federation, one of the leading export destinations of the aforementioned product group, had a 25,6% share in Turkey’s total fresh fruit and vegetables with 637 million USD in 2017. Iraq is another major market, which has increased its share in Turkish Fresh Fruits and vegetables exports in recent years.
Table 2: Exports of Turkish Fresh Fruits & Vegetables by Years
Table 3: Exports of Turkish Fresh Fruits & Vegetables by Countries
- Mediterranean Exporters Union
- Aegean Exporters Union
- Uludag Exporters Union
- West Mediterranean Exporters Union
- Eastern Blacksea Exporters Union
- İstanbul Exporters Union
- Turkish Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Portal