What issues were the most difficult ones for the Turkish blue poppy seed market to face in 2021? Were they mainly related to the lingering threat of the worldwide pandemic or do you think they would also have occurred in a more normal year?
The difficulties we had in 2021 were not due to the pandemic, they were mainly due to challenging climate conditions. It was very hot in the growing areas this summer and as a result, the crop was not as big as expected. The weather conditions were not favourable for a good crop yield.
In most markets, prices for feed and food commodities went up significantly over the course of the past year. Blue poppy seeds are no exception to that. Do you think buyers will have to adjust to these higher levels in the long run or do you expect prices to decrease again?
Actually, we don’t agree with you. The prices for blue poppy seeds were not high this year, they were even lower than last year. Due to a strong US Dollar against our currency, blue poppy seed prices are lower this year.
Did the demand situation change compared to 2020 and 2019? Do you think some buyers and processors had to readjust their needs?
Demand in 2021 was lower. At the beginning of the pandemic, during the first half of 2020, demand was very high and we made a lot of shipments, but then demand especially from the EU market, slowed down. We think that demand in the EU market has shrunk during the pandemic.
Logistical issues like high freight costs, a lack of containers and truck drivers as well as closed ports were problems faced by the food and feed commodity market. Is there a lesson to be learned from that going into 2022?
This became a very big problem indeed and is affecting everybody, and the problems are still not dealt with. We think that these problems result from the fact that freight charges were very low for a long time and ship owners were not making any profit. Taking into consideration the pandemic conditions, they were able to increase their freights, especially to the USA. We believe that logistical problems will continue in 2022.
Additionally, climate change and crop concerns are real and pose a threat to all kinds of food and feed commodities around the world and will most likely continue to do so. How would this affect the blue poppy seed market in the future and what could companies in this industry do to improve this situation?
It’s true that climate change is affecting all kinds of food and feed commodities. Blue poppy seeds may be the least affected one because even if there’s a shortage in one producing country, there can be a good production in another one. When production decreases and the crop is small, prices are increasing sharply.