As the season is about to turn into summer from spring, in fertile lowlands of Turkey’s south, laborers put in extra hours to meet the new wave of food demands from all around the world. Coronavirus crisis boomed Turkey’s food exports as the government has been working carefully to avoid any disruption in supply chain.
Turkey’s fruit and vegetable imported increased 22 percent in the first 4 month of 2020 comparing to last year to $118 million. Head of Istanbul Fruit and Vegetable Exporters Union, Melisa Mutlu, says Turkey has been proving for years that it is a very reliable source. “We never stopped the supply chain, that is another big reason of the demand,” said Tokgoz. She reiterated that Coronavirus once more showed the world the importance of Turkey as a food supplier.
One unusual food item on demand is Turkish pickle which traditionally considered as medicine. As the world the perplexed on how to protect from the fatal coronavirus since there is no medicine or vaccine, a lot people chose to intake natural preservative food which strengthen immune system . Aegean Exporters Federation said Turkey’s pickle export skyrocketed by 30 percent in 2020 and the sector eyes to pass $250 million mark this year. The head of the federation, Mehmet Kirici says while most businesses are laying of employees because of coronavirus, Turkish agriculture sector has been employing more and more to keep up with the demand.
Turkey is no Italy when it comes to pasta but no one knows for sure if Italy will ever be able to be itself again after being harshly hit by coronavirus. Nonetheless, Turkey exports pasta to 160 countries from Asia to Latin America. Ankara initially placed export ban on pasta at the beginning of the pandemic to secure the domestic demand. Export was later on allowed and despite the disruption, Turkey’s pasta export increased over 20 percent in value to $170 million in 2020 so far. Largest buyer of Turkish pasta in Latin America is Venezuela according sector representatives. Turkey’s pasta export to Europe has also increased 21 percent in the first 3 months of the year.
Even some countries like Iraq which previously stopped purchasing certain good from Turkey came back to knock on the door to supply its citizens. And sector representatives believe coronavirus did teach them a lesson and they will never stop buying food from Turkey again. “We may not be able to meet the demand of new customers next time as nothing will be the same in post-virus era,” said head of the Aegean Pasta Exporters.
Turkish Airlines cargo department has also been working 24/7 to meet the demands of deliveries of all kinds according to inside sources. As the airline industry is grounded because of the virus, Turkish Cargo will post the biggest income this year.
As Turkey has lost a lot of income in foreign exchange from tourism sector due to coronavirus, food sector has been working hard to make up for it. Downturn of quick jump in export is the increasing domestic food prices. But sector representatives believe as the mass summer production kicked off, it would put some relieve on the prices at home.