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Demand for Turkish citrus booms, fuelling exports

Oranges

Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, Turkey's already well established reputation for high-quality citrus fruit rose even higher this year, with exports increasing by a quarter.

Exports of mandarins, lemons, grapefruit and oranges rose by 24% last year, topping US$933 million. The Anadolu Agency reported that Turkey's citrus exports amounted to 1.8 million tons, according to data from Mediterranean Exporter Associations.

Russia was first in line, importing $410m worth of fruit, followed by Iraq with $106m, Ukraine with $99m, Romania with $39m and Poland with $35m.

Mandarins took the largest share of citrus exports with 83,000 tons, followed by oranges (41,000 tons), and lemons (30,000 tons).

National Citrus Council president Kemal Kacmaz, told AA that citrus fruits are a lynchpin of Turkey's agricultural exports, helping balance out some of the negative result from the coronavirus pandemic.

“We exported 1.8 million tons of citrus worth $933 million. Such a contribution to the Turkish economy is gratifying,” Kacmaz said.

He added that the industry was pursuing new markets, and had other industry developments in the works.

In recent years, exports had increased in parallel with production, he said. 

“Our efforts continue without pause.”

Turkey's citrus exports make up a considerable slice of the country's exports, and are growing each year. Exports to Russia grew significantly last year, with almost 200,000 tonnes worth $118m heading to this market.

Turkish agricultural exports to Russia were helped last year by the pandemic. With China suspending its food exports, Russia was compelled to look elsewhere, and Turkey filled the citrus gap.

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