Olives and the oil that comes from them are one of the highlights of life in the Mediterranean, with different countries, including Turkey, claiming to produce the best. However, one thing that is indisputable right now is the rising number of people around the world who now consume Turkish olive oil, according to a recent report from the country's agricultural sector.
Figures show that Turkish exports of olive oil rocketed in value by an incredible 172 per cent during the first eight months of 2013, reaching $333 million compared to $122.2 million the same time last year. This is expected to surpass $400 million by the end of October.
Turkey is now said to be the fourth largest exporter of olives in the world. The Turkish Exporters’ Assembly (TIM) announced a long-term goal this year to raise the country’s annual olive oil exports to $3.8 billion in the next 10 years – in time for the centenary of the Turkish Republic.
That the world has been flooded by Turkish olive oil is largely thanks to Spain’s misfortune – the Spanish agricultural sector, including olive producers, has been hit hard by drought conditions this year, reducing its olive oil production and exports.
Turkish olive oil exporters believe that export volumes could continue rising, considering the growing demand for oil in large markets, including China, Japan and South Korea. Turkey’s total number of olive trees stood at 98 million in 2000, and the figure had increased to 155 million by the end of 2012. Many of its more recently planted trees are yet to produce fruit, but once they do, Turkey’s production level should increase.