2023 Crop Prospects Spotty-Spotted!
We have spent the last few days touring the growing regions in and around Malatya, and the key points we observed are as follows:
- The blossom set was badly affected by persistent rain in all major growing regions.
- Roughly a third of orchards have no fruit, with the rest holding between 10% and 40% of an optimum yield.
- Highest areas where bloom was later had a better fruit set, but have subsequently been damaged by hail and rain causing blemishes and fruit being knocked off the trees. These higher areas only account for 10% to 15% of overall production.
- We estimate the average yield across the region is 25 to 30 kg per tree of fresh apricots. This equates to 50,000 to 60,000 tons dry/pitted, there will be a carryover of between 5 and 10,000 tons, mostly committed.
- Apricots will be large sizes, mostly size 1 to 3.
- 50% of the crop is blemished (hail and speckles)
- Malatya Agriculture Chamber has told the press that the crop is around 55,000 tons, whereas Malatya Borsa are believed to be planning to announce the crop as 77,000 tons.
Other Issues Affecting 2023 crop
- The population of Malatya province has fallen by about a third following the earthquakes. Farmers whose family have relocated out of the region may decide to sell fruit on the trees to fresh fruit buyers who bring their own labour to harvest. This may reduce the proportion of unblemished fruit available for drying as fresh fruit markets only buy clean fruit.
- Fruit juice buyers are unlikely to buy the blemished fruit on the trees due to the high prices relative to other fresh growing areas/countries and other juicing fruits.
- Quality/price relationship is going be be a major factor with so much blemished fruit, temptation to reduce cost by increasing blemish content will be massive.
- Labor costs are currently very high in Malatya and workers are scarce, though a recent influx of migrant workers is giving some relief. Malatya industries and farmers are awaiting financial aid package from the government to incentivise companies and workers to remain in the city.
- The Lira has weakened over the past few weeks to 23.7 to the $, however, the recent appointment of veteran Simsek as Finance Minister has let to expectations of a return to orthodox policies, and this may stabilise or even reverse the Lira losses.
- Fungal diseases have damaged around a quarter of trees, these trees will need careful pruning and treatments to regenerate them, and this will affect the crop potential for 2024 crop, as will the drop in population.
- Many organic farms have not renewed their organic certification due to years of low prices relative to conventional, and due to treatments needed to combat disease.
- Consuming markets are mostly empty of apricot stocks.
Sparse spotty fruit and brown rot, welcome to the 2023 apricot season !
- Exports in May were 4,957 tons compared to 3,561 tons last year
- Year to date exports are 73,034 tons compared to 74,599 tons last year
Strong exports in May. We will finish the season with exports in the region of 80,000 tons, same as the previous year, even though prices year to date are on average 18% higher than last year.
Prices are increasing in Malatya as the scale of the crop damage becomes more apparent. Supply is very tight.
Turkey will be closed for national holidays from 26th June until the 3rd of July. Harvest will start in the second half of July.