ANKARA – Turkey’s hazelnut exports to Europe have dropped by 35 percent this year after Europeans began to cut back on their expenses in response to rising energy prices, Turkish business insiders told Xinhua in a recent interview.
Turkey is the world’s leading producer of hazelnuts, accounting for about 56 percent of the global output of the heart-shaped nuts, and 90 percent of Turkey exported hazelnuts went to Europe, said Mustafa Demirci, a hazelnut producer and exporter from Giresun province on the Black Sea coast, which is famed for its hazelnut orchards.
The decline in European demand was caused by a recession of the chocolate industry across the continent, said Demirci, adding Turkish hazelnuts are mainly used by Europeans in the production of chocolates, the amount of which has decreased by 40 percent this year.
As energy costs skyrocketed in Europe, people spent less on other items, such as chocolate, said Demirci.
“In my 42 years of experience in the hazelnut business, I have never witnessed such a crisis with our products,” the veteran businessman complained, adding his business had never had such difficulties even during past regional conflicts, such as the Gulf War (1990-1991).
Hasan Osman Sabir, president of the Black Sea Hazelnut and Products Exporters Association, said hazelnut production is an important source of income for hundreds of thousands of farmers in the agriculturally productive Black Sea region, where plantations of hazelnuts are common.
Most of the world’s hazelnuts are grown and processed in Turkey, which has favorable weather conditions for the nuts. The country exports hazelnuts to around 100 countries worldwide, official statistics show.
According to a hazelnut output forecast for 2022-2023 released by the Turkish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry this summer, the country will harvest 765,287 tonnes of hazelnuts in the period, an increase of 12 percent year-on-year.
Turkish Trade Minister Mehmet Mus warned on Monday the uncertainties caused by the Ukraine crisis may affect goods supplied to the European Union (EU), which is Turkey’s largest export market.
Mus added that his ministry was working to diversify Turkey’s export markets as demand from the EU market was expected to weaken because of the energy crisis.
Turkey’s total exports increased by 32.9 percent year on year and amounted to 225.368 billion U.S. dollars in 2021. Turkey also increased its foreign trade volume to 496.7 billion dollars last year, from 87.6 billion [Read More]