Turkstat’s first crop estimate of 2022, indicates a good year as far as nut production is concerned. Nut production has been on the increase in all of the major nuts grown in Turkey, which are hazelnuts, walnuts, pistachios, almonds, and chestnuts. Turkstat reports on the total (including non-commercial) production of nuts, which is mostly reflected in significantly higher production estimates for walnuts and almonds, which vary substantially from other industry estimates that only include production of commercial nuts. Even if these nuts are consumed on a non-commercial basis, it provides large volumes of food, which would otherwise need to be bought or supplemented in different ways. Hazelnut, pistachio, and chestnut production are much more correlated to other industry estimates as the production of these nuts is mostly commercial.
Hazelnut Production Estimated 4% Higher
Hazelnut production is estimated to be 705,000 mt for 2022. This will be the second-highest crop on record, after the 776,046 mt produced in 2019, and a 4% increase from last year's crop. Turkey will also start the 2022/23 hazelnut marketing year with large opening stock, of close to 100,000 mt, meaning substantial supplies throughout the 2022/23 season. Despite the increase in production, the Turkish hazelnut industry could have a tough year ahead. The weak Turkish lira and high inflation costs are driving up input costs, whereas the price of hazelnuts has not increased by much. Hazelnut prices are under downward pressure from increased global production, especially in Italy which is in an on-year of their biannual production cycle. Turkey’s market share in world hazelnut production could remain close to 70-75%, but it is facing more and more competition from other producers, for example, the US and Chile, where production is expanding rapidly.
Turkstat peg walnut production in 2022 at 335,000 mt, an increase of 3% YoY. Turkey’s walnut production has expanded steadily over the last decade, at an average annual increase of 6%. Numerous walnut trees are scattered throughout the country and do not form part of the commercial value chain. However, these walnuts are still destined for human consumption, according to Turkstat. Production of these trees is included in Turkstat’s estimates, which makes it much higher than other industry estimates. For example, according to Turkstat, Turkey’s walnut production in 2021/22 was 325,000 mt. The International Nut and Dried Fruit Council (INC) pegged production at 37,200 mt, whereas the USDA estimated Turkey’s walnut production at 68,000 mt, all on an in-shell basis.
That being said, the emergence of commercial walnut farms over the last 10 to 15 years came a long way in increasing commercial production, and many of the country’s walnut trees were planted recently and are not yet bearing. According to USDA estimates, only about half of the country’s 23,900 (commercial) walnut trees were already bearing nuts in 2021/22. As more trees start maturing, Turkey’s walnut commercial and total production will increase further.
Almond production for 2022 is estimated at 180,000 mt, 1% higher than in 2021. Much like the walnuts grown in Turkey, many of the country’s almond trees are scattered and are not commercialized. Numerous of Turkey's almond trees grow wild and others were planted as part of reforestation projects or community projects. Turkstat’s estimates include non-commercial production, which makes its crop estimates much higher than the estimates used in the almond trading industry. For example, both the INC and USDA peg Turkey's (commercial) almond production at around 18,000 mt. Furthermore, Turkey imported around 30k mt of almonds (on a kernel basis) in 2021, and imports are increasing, which would indicate a clear distinction between the commercial and non-commercial sectors. That being said, according to Turkstat’s data, virtually all of the almonds reported in their production estimates are still destined for human consumption, and these almonds fill a gap in the food supply chain.
2022 is an on year for pistachios in Turkey, and production is estimated at 230,000 mt, a 93% increase from 2021. However, it would be the lowest on-year since 2016. Conditions have been dry over some of the most important growing regions in the early development stages of pistachios. It could affect the yield and size of nuts. Frost damage due to unusually cold temperatures in early spring has also reduced the potential for a large crop. Frost events seem to become more frequent in Turkey. This is also observed in neighboring Iran’s pistachio crops and is believed to be a result of climate change. Despite production being fairly average for an on-year, Turkey will start the year with large opening stocks, of as much as 175,000mt. Most of Turkey’s pistachio production is commercialized.
Turkey will produce 78,000 mt of chestnuts according to Turkstat, only a pinch higher than last year's 77,792 mt. Turkey’s chestnut production has increased steadily over the last 10 years but is still far off the highs of more than 90,000 mt produced in the mid-1980s. Chestnut blight has been a major hurdle for the industry after it laid waste to the crop in the late 1980s. As management of chestnut blight and other diseases improves, production is increasing once again, albeit slowly. Turkey is the world’s 4th largest chestnut producer, after China, Spain, and Bolivia.