Blue poppy seeds: “Business with Russia and Israel almost stopped”

December 25, 2023 at 1:00 PM , Der AUDITOR
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SEEHEIM/IZMIR. 2023 was a year full of hurdles, but also new opportunities. Olcay Soyuçaylı from the Turkish trading company Cemre Tarim explains how market players of the Turkish blue poppy seed market faced challenges such as the wars in Ukraine and Israel, global inflation and climate change and what they expect from the 2024/2025 season. Read the full interview here.

Which were the main difficulties faced by the blue poppy seed market in 2023? What has changed compared to the last two years? Turkey in particular was hit by severe earthquakes this year. Do these have a lasting impact on the dried fruit market?

The main difficulty was the lack of demand, especially from Europe. Demand has slowed down considerably. I guess due to high inflation rate and increased production costs, demand decreased in Europe and consume is “hand to mouth”. On the Turkish side, also due to the high inflation rate and increased production costs, growers are not willing to sell their produce at low prices. As a result, Czech prices became competitive. On the one side, there is a lack of demand, but on the other side and at the same time, Turkish prices are not decreasing. So, there is limited trade. Due to low EURO/USD parity, stock costs increased, and buyers are buying only hand to mouth. The earthquakes did not have an impact on the blue poppy seed market, because production areas are not in the earthquake areas.

What impact do the wars in Ukraine and Israel have on the blue poppy seed market? Are the political tensions in various African countries also a cause for concern here?

Wars in Ukraine and Israel have the impact of lowering demand. Due to the Ukraine war, Turkey is not able to sell to Russia. Russia was one of the biggest buyers of Turkish poppy seeds, but now, it became very difficult to export to Russia. The same goes for Israel. Israel was a consumer of Turkish blue poppy seeds, but now due to the war, there is almost no demand. Business with Russia and Israel almost stopped.

In 2023, climate change and its impact on global commodity production was felt like never before. What should growers and market players be prepared for in the coming years?

Turkey was a country that was able to feed itself, but now most products are being imported. Due to climate changes, some crops can be short and this will result in higher prices.

Commodity prices have risen significantly in many markets for another year in a row. Inflation and higher production costs are leaving their mark; the blue poppy seed market is no exception here. Do you think consumers will look for cheaper alternatives in the long run?

Yes, they already started to look for cheaper alternatives. They decreased their demand and only buy just for short term needs. No buying on long term contracts. In addition, demand for luxury food produce will decrease. Demand for organic products will decrease, too.

Looking at the current market situation, what challenges might the blue poppy seed market face in the 2024/2025 season?

Although there is high inflation and increased production costs, our export prices did not change. We are selling at the same price levels of last year. But we cannot continue selling too much at the same price, and this may result in increased prices.

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