Opinion

Türkiye’s Tomato Exports Flourish in 2023, Poised for Further Expansion in 2024

Published May 23, 2024
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Türkiye's tomato exports significantly increased by 42.8% YoY to USD 538.7 million in 2022, thanks to strategic initiatives, favorable weather conditions, and external market dynamics. The country's strategic location as a bridge between Europe and Asia offers unique export opportunities, and in 2022, traders sold USD 377.19 million worth of tomatoes to 54 countries. Türkiye's tomato exports recovered in 2023, reaching 586,856 mt, a 12.81% YoY increase. The depreciation of the Turkish lira has made Turkish exports more price-competitive on the global market, affecting demand in international markets.

Türkiye's agricultural sector has long been one of the foundations of its economy, with tomatoes being one of the key exports. The significant 42.8% year-on-year (YoY) increase in tomato exports to USD 538.7 million reflects a combination of strategic initiatives, favorable conditions, and external market dynamics. Türkiye's strategic location as a bridge between Europe and Asia provides unique export opportunities. In recent years, Türkiye has capitalized on its geographical advantage, expanding its tomato export markets to include neighboring countries and distant markets in the Middle East, Asia, and North America. In 2022, Türkiye traders sold USD 377.19 million worth of tomatoes to 54 countries, including Romania, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom (UK), Spain, Denmark, Azerbaijan, Russia, and Qatar.

Figure 1: Export Volume of Türkiye Tomatoes 2019-2023

Türkiye’s fresh tomato export volume

Source: Tridge

Türkiye’s fresh tomato export volumes recovered in 2023, reaching 586,856 metric tons (mt), a 12.81% YoY increase, yet not enough to match 2021’s record levels of 616,569 mt. Ukraine was the number one destination of Turkish tomatoes, with 80,876 mt delivered in 2023, followed by Romania with 69,778 mt. Türkiye dominates in the Ukrainian market in springtime, up until domestic production enters the season in May, with prices remaining high, around UAH 70 to 80 per kilogram (kg).

Several factors contribute to the success of Turkish tomato exports, like advances in agricultural technology, including greenhouse cultivation and improved irrigation techniques, which have significantly boosted tomato yields. These innovations have enabled Türkiye to extend its growing season and enhance product quality, making Turkish tomatoes more competitive internationally. Additionally, efforts to diversify export destinations have reduced Türkiye's dependency on traditional markets. This strategy has made the country's tomato exports more resilient to geopolitical tensions and trade barriers, contributing to the overall growth in export value.

Figure 2: Tridge Price Indices and Forecasts of Türkiye Tomatoes

Tridge Price Indicies

Source: Tridge

The depreciation of the Turkish lira has also made Turkish exports more price-competitive on the global market. While this poses domestic challenges, it has been a boon for export sectors, including agriculture. According to the Tridge Weekly Update, Türkiye's tomato prices decreased by 8.57% in W19 to USD 0.98/kg due to improved weather conditions and increased supply. Despite a 69.80% annual consumer inflation rate, prices declined by 9.15% month-on-month (MoM) in May 24, the Turkish lira's exchange rate plays a crucial role in determining the export price of tomatoes, affecting competitiveness in international markets.

Initial estimates show that even in 2024, Türkiye's tomato exports are increasing, with significant shipments to Russia, Iraq, and several European countries. The increase in export volume corresponds to a steady rise in prices, attributed to high demand in these markets and the improved quality of Turkish tomatoes.

The surge in tomato exports has several positive effects on Türkiye's economy. It boosts the trade balance, supports rural employment, and encourages agricultural technology and infrastructure investment. Additionally, it strengthens Türkiye's reputation as a reliable supplier of high-quality agricultural products. Türkiye's ability to supply high-quality products has made it a key player in the global tomato market. In conclusion, the significant increase in Türkiye's tomato exports showcases its agricultural strength and strategic advantage due to its geographical location. By continuing to invest in technology, diversify markets, and leverage this advantage, Tridge expects Türkiye to solidify its status as one of the leading global tomato exporters further.

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