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YENİASIR "New targets in olive cultivation"

CORNER WRITER - SEZER ALTAN



I recently participated in a very important panel. I watched the panel on "What should be the target of the world and Turkey in Olive Cultivation?" at Izmir Olive Growing Research Institute, where Ankara University Faculty of Agriculture Faculty Member Dr.


Mücahit Taha Özkaya made a presentation and I tasted the award-winning olive oil. I will share with you valuable information from the presentation made by my teacher. Here are the lines from Özkaya's words:


"One of the greatest riches of the geography we live in, which nature offers us, humanity, is undoubtedly the olive tree, the symbol of abundance. Olive has been accepted as a symbol of peace throughout history. It has been considered sacred and has been the subject of many legends.


Olives and olive oil have been serving the world as a fountain of beauty, health and flavour since about 8 thousand years ago. The olive tree is a tree that grows slowly but lives quite long. Its trunk is very resistant to decay, it can even survive even if it is cancerous, even if its trunk is hollowed out. An olive tree, which was a sapling a thousand years before the prophet Jesus, can still bear fruit today, hence the name "immortal tree". This tree, which is native to the Mediterranean region and can live for 3 thousand years, is almost the only fruit tree that can be inherited from grandfather to grandchild for centuries.


This miracle tree has a lot to contribute to the Mediterranean people and Mediterranean culture. For this reason, neither the olive tree is just a tree nor its products are just food.


They are all part of a culture, tradition, trade, in short, a part of life for thousands of years.


If we consider that the number of countries that produce, consume and export both table olives and olive oil from the olive fruit, which is the product of the sacred olive tree, does not exceed ten, we can call this tree the endemic plant of the Mediterranean belt.


We are the second largest producer

Turkey is the largest producer of olive oil in the world after Spain, Italy and Greece. From this point of view, it is in a position to become a world leader with a successful strategy...


Turkey is the world's largest producer of table olives after Spain, but it is also the largest producer and consumer of black table olives. In olive oil production, from being a producer country that did not have extra virgin olive oil on its shelves until the 1980s, it is about to become a country that targets quality-oriented production until branding and even boutique production brands. However, it does not have the quantity and quality of exports that can take place in the world market. For this reason, it still sells in bulk to Italy like Greece and Tunisia. In world olive cultivation, trade is concentrated on olive oil rather than table olives. Spain, as the largest producer in the world olive oil market, is the cheapest olive oil producer.


The most important reason for this is the large co-operatives and the form of tree plantations in Spain. Italy, which holds the world olive oil market, is a producer and exporter serving the gourmet sector. Greece is not assertive in the world market as it already consumes most of the olive oil it produces (close to 20 litres per capita). Tunisia, on the other hand, is a country that produces unbranded bulk olive oil as a supplier to the EU."


NECESSARY TO BECOME A BRAND

Turkey should open a new lane in these markets and create a market called "olive oil for health" by producing extra virgin olive oil with high polyphenols and rich health components by using the advantage of being the homeland of olives. However, this should be a national strategy from production to marketing. Of course, we need to have identified the superior properties of all our gene resources and have geographical indications for them. Last word: Although Turkey is among the top four countries in olive oil exports, it exports about one-fifth as much as Spain, the leading country in this field. A gradual decrease in the share of raw olive oil exports and proportionally more exports of high value-added products will increase Turkey's competitiveness. The way to do this is through branding, that is, developing your own brand and marketing your products at every stage, from production to packaging, by creating your own brand.

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