Turkey is rapidly becoming one the of largest olive oil producing countries in the world. In spite of wildfires that destroyed olive trees in western Turkey, its production increased by 62 percent in the 2017/18 harvest season.
Turkish olive oil consumption and exports have also increased over the past year as both private companies and government are investing more heavily in the commodity. Marmarabirlik, Turkey’s largest olive oil producer, is building a new processing facility and warehouse in Germany to increase its production capabilities.
At home, Turkey has been rapidly improving its technology at existing mills in order to more quickly press olives and extract higher quality oil. According to the Turkish National Olive and Olive Oil Council, these mills have been upgraded to meet the International Olive Council’s trade standards and European Union regulations.
Previously most olive oil produced in Turkey was either virgin or lampante. However, as the demand for higher quality olive oil around the world has grown, Turkey has begun to produce more extra virgin and organic olive oil. Two Turkish extra virgin olive oils won silver at last year’s New York International Olive Oil Competition.
Turkey exports olive oil to more than 100 countries around the world. The largest markets for Turkish exports are the United States, Spain and Saudi Arabia, all of which have increasingly discriminating tastes for higher quality oil. Turkish producers also have their eye on other international markets that are growing in value, including China, Germany, Japan and South Korea.
At the moment, Turkey’s mild climate leaves it well poised to continue producing more olive oil of higher quality. However, climate scientists in Turkey warn that the country will keep getting drier with lower snowpacks and less rain. Meteorologists have said that new infrastructure, including dams and reservoirs, will need to be built in order to sustain agriculture in western Turkey, the region in which many olive trees are grown.
Last summer’s wildfire destroyed less than 15 acres of olive trees, but these types of events are predicted to become more common. These are issues that will have to be resolved as Turkey’s olive oil production continues to grow.
Total Olive Oil Production
Total Olive Oil Consumption
Total Olive Oil Exports