Early fig season causes problems for Turkish exporters
Alanar general manager Hamdi Taner told www.freshfruitportal.com the campaign normally started in mid-August and ran through October, but this year it had kicked off 15-20 days earlier.
"This season was very early for all products in Turkey - not only for figs, but all fruits including cherries, apricots, now pomegranates," he said.
The early harvest was brought on by high temperatures over the summer, according to Taner.
"Nobody was expecting the season to be that early, including growers. The best time to sell figs to Europe is late August, September and October, but this year peak production came at the beginning of August," he said, adding around 80% of exports are sent to Europe.
"So when we had that peak there was more fruit than demand. Supermarkets were not ready as they normally start their fig promotions in September when we typically have higher volumes, and they just want smaller quantities in the first few weeks.
"So this year we had some problems as we couldn't see all the production to the European supermarkets, but what happened was the domestic market in Turkey took the fruit from the growers, and then in September with the programs with prices went up again and everything was fine."
In addition, he said toward the end of the season many Turkish fig exports had to reduce their shipments as the supply gap had caused prices to soar to levels many clients did not want to pay.
Taner also explained the early season had not caused any problems in terms of increased competition with other supplying countries.
"Turkey, Israel, Spain and some other European countries grow figs, but when Turkish figs come into the market they all have to stop," he said.
"Firstly, this is because the quality of our black figs is much better than others, and also because we can offer lower prices than others.
"Israel has to do air shipments, but we can do truck deliveries. So there is no competition, it's not like cherries or citrus or other products."
Taner said that this year Alanar had exported around 1,500 metric tons (MT) of figs, but in a normal season the figure could be in the region of 2,000-2,500MT.
The company is also planning to ramp up its plantings on black figs, and boost exports to developing markets like Scandinavia, Russia, the Middle and Far East, South Africa and Canada.
Photo: Via Flickr (Veganbaking.net)