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Turkey wins competition on the stagnating apple market as exports of apples surge

EastFruit analysts have been paying attention to the expansion of Turkey and Iran into the global fresh apple market for many years, and it was one of the key factors in our forecasting the difficult 2021/22 season in the #freshapplecrisis article.

The export volume of Turkish apples increased by 47% in the 2020/21 season (August-July) at once – almost 1.5 times, and reached 298 thousand tonnes. Over the past five years, Turkey has already increased its apple exports by 3.5 times – by 185 thousand tonnes. In other words, the increase in apple exports from Turkey over the past five years corresponds to the average annual volume of apple exports from Moldova!

Apple exports from Turkey continue to grow at the same high rate in the new season of 2021/22! In particular, Turkey has already exported 34.4 thousand tonnes of apples in August-September 2021 – 1.5 times more than during the same period in the last season!

“The global trade in fresh apples has been stagnating for about six to seven years. Trade volumes are declining by almost 1% per year. This means that countries that increase their exports are keeping out other exporters from the market. Of course, this all exerts pressure on apple prices, especially in the segment of average and low quality, and affects the income of growers. However, Turkey does not seem to have much of a problem with this. Moreover, industry representatives report further growth in apple orchard acreage and plans to expand Turkish apple exports to foreign markets.” says Andriy Yarmak, economist at the Investment Centre of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Turkey and Iran were not previously perceived as serious competitors for apple exporters from the EU, let alone exporters from Moldova and Ukraine. However, they are now real competitors, and their expansion is already affecting the exports of apples from the EU countries and Moldova. In addition, Turkish apples compete even with apples from the US, especially in the Indian market.

India bought a record volume of apples from Turkey in the 2020/21 season – 68 thousand tons. But India has traditionally been one of the key markets for apple sales for the United States. Now it has become the #1 market for Turkish apples.

Another record of apple exports from Turkey was set in the Russian market, which imported almost 60 thousand tonnes of Turkish apples last season! The volume of apple exports from Turkey to the Russian Federation was no more than 3 thousand tonnes five years ago, that is, they have grown 20 times! By the way, when Turkey increased the export of apples to Russia by 51% last season, Moldova failed to sell all the apples from the storage, although the harvest was one of the lowest in recent years. As a result, Turkey sold 20 thousand tonnes more apples to Russia during the season, while Moldova sold 72 thousand tonnes less.

“Despite the logistical advantages that Moldova has when exporting apples to the Russian Federation, it is clearly losing the competition to Turkey in this market in terms of quality management and variety selection. Since the Russian apple market is one of many markets for Turkey, it focuses on high quality requirements and internationally recognized varieties, which also helps in supplying to the Russian market. Turkey is also actively marketing its products. As for Moldova, Russia remains the only sales market, which did not encourage local producers to invest in quality, processing, packaging, promising varieties, etc.,” explains Andriy Yarmak.

Besides India and Russia, the most important markets for Turkish apples are the countries of the Middle East. And here Turkish apples directly collide with apples from the EU countries and Ukraine. There has been a recent trend of growing supplies of Turkish apples to lower-income countries such as Syria, Iraq and Libya, while supplies to wealthier countries such as the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait decreased in the 2020/21 season.

Malaysia has also become an important sales market for Turkish apples in recent years. Apple exports from Turkey to Malaysia grew by 66% last season. In previous years, deliveries have grown at a similar pace. Let us recall that Malaysia is one of the most important export markets for apples for Ukraine as well.

 

EastFruit

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