Olive and olive oil season of 2017/18 was opened with a ceremony held in İzmir Commodity Exchange (ICE). The first olives of the season were cracked by Mr. Erol Ayyıldız, governor of İzmir, Mr. Necip Kalkan, İzmir Deputy of Justice and Development Party (AKP), Mr. Hüseyin Aşkın, provincial director of Security, and directors of the ICE in the ceremony.
Speaking at the ceremony, Mrs. Işınsu Kestelli, the chairperson of the ICE, stated that Turkey should increase the number of trees and amount of olive and olive oil production. Having noted that Turkey ranked fourth in world olive oil production after Spain, Greece and Italy that are world's major olive oil producing countries, Mrs. Kestelli said, "This ranking is not acceptable for us. Our goal should be to take the second place after Spain." Mrs. Kestelli pointed out that annual olive oil consumption per person, which was 14 to 24 litres in countries like Spain, Italy and Greece, was around 2 litres in Turkey, and added "Our goal is to increase the annual consumption per person to 3 litres, but even if we try to calculate the amount of annual production needed over 2 litres consumption per person, we need to produce at least 160 thousand litres of olive oil each year. The yield per decare in years when the crop is at regular levels is 369 kg in Spain, 256 kg in Italy and 209 kg in Greece, and the world average is 213 kg due mainly to the high yield in Spain. Turkey is below the world average with 195 kilograms. This is the most important problem we need to solve. We need to increase the yield at least to the world average per decare. In parallel with the goal of taking the second place in olive oil production in the world, Turkey needs to increase the number of trees and amount of olive and olive oil production."
Underlining that competitive distortions in exports, insufficiency in domestic consumption, production planning and problems experienced in quality still needed to be solved, Mrs. Kestelli continued as follows: "Policies adopted by Turkey in recent years to increase production are quite in place. It is very important to maintain this policy with the various kinds of oil that are unique to our country. When we look today at the olive oil sector, which was once unable to sell packaged goods in foreign markets, we see a completely different picture. It is important to draw a long-term roadmap for production, consumption, marketing and exports in order to sustain the development and grow in a steady manner."
Wishing a fruitful season, Mr. Erol Ayyıldız, governor of İzmir, expressed that olive and olive oil were an integral part of Turkish family life. Mr. Ayyıldız stated that the goal in olive oil production should be to take the first place, not the second.