Turkey’s Lemon Production Climbs

Josh McGillCrop Forecast, International, lemons

Fresh lemon production in Turkey for 2021–22 was recently forecast at 1.33 million metric tons (MMT) in an update by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (USDA/FAS). That’s an increase of about 22% over expected prior year production of 1.1 MMT.

Lemon Production

Growers are expanding the area of their lemon orchards in part because lemons are more profitable than other citrus.

Like other citrus growers, Turkish lemon producers are struggling with rising input costs. They also report challenges with disease, pests, rising labor costs and limited cold-storage capacity. 

Low farm gate prices have reportedly discouraged some growers from harvesting their lemons this year. According to lemon producers, 30% of the Meyer lemon variety was left on the tree because the farm gate price was too low. Growers blame the low selling prices on middlemen and the government’s ban last year on lemon exports to prevent domestic shortfalls amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

USDA/FAS’ most recent Turkey update forecasts domestic lemon consumption in 2021–22 at 510,000 metric tons (MT), up about 17% from the prior year. Consumption had dropped in 2021–22 due to pandemic-related closings of restaurants and cafes, where a large percentage of lemons are consumed in beverages.

The 2021–22 forecast for Turkish lemon exports is 780,000 MT, a 25% increase over the nearly 620,000 MT exported in 2020–21. Exports in 2020–21 went mostly to Russia, Iraq and Ukraine. As of January 2022, Turkish lemon exports to the European Union and the United Kingdom are subject to increased testing for pesticides; the rate of testing per shipment has been raised to 50%.

Turkey imports very small volumes of lemons, mostly from the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and Brazil. 

See the full USDA/FAS report on citrus in Turkey.

Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service

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