Executive Summary: 

According to the Raisin Production Forecast Commission, sultana raisin production in the Aegean region which accounts for virtually all production, will be 328,167 MT from a harvested area of 983,559 decares (243,042 acres). The Raisin Production Forecast Commission has members from Izmir Commodity Exchange, Izmir Chamber of Commerce, Manisa Commodity Exchange, Alasehir Commodity Exchange, Aegean Exporters Union and the Ministry of Food, Agriculture, and Livestock (MinFAL) Grape Research Center. 

After a bad season of freeze and hail in MY 2013/14 that resulted in a 20 percent decrease in production, Post expects Turkish raisin production to increase to a record high level of 320,000 MT in MY 2014/15. Favorable weather conditions and increased area are the reasons for the expected increase. EU is the top export destination for Turkish raisins receiving an average of 55% of all Turkish raisin exports. Among European countries, the UK is the leading export destination with 28 percent. UK is followed by Germany, Holland, Italy and Australia. This trend is expected to continue similarly in the upcoming years. 

The Sultana Raisins Association, which was established in 1934, formed the basis of “TARIS Raisins Agricultural Sales Cooperatives Union”. Generally, TARIS purchases around 15-20 percent of total production. The cooperatives of the union are spread across the Aegean Region, located in the western part of Turkey. The vineyards of TARIS members have always set a very good example in the region regarding the yield and the quality of the product. 

The size of an average farm land is less than 3 hectares in Turkey. Therefore, as like other commodities, seedless grapes are generally grown on small farms averaging about 1.3 hectares. It is estimated that nearly 65,000 growers produce seedless grapes in Turkey, and about half of all raisin producers are members of TARIS. Each year TARIS announces a procurement price for raisins, which also serves as a support price. TARIS is required to buy raisins from its members but members are free to sell to other buyers and they often do. 

Consumption:

There are numerous firms in the dried fruit processing and export business in Turkey; however, the top ten firms are estimated to control about 80 percent of the raisin market. 

TARIS’s role in procuring and marketing raisins has been decreasing in conjunction with IMF-backed reforms to reduce the government’s role in agriculture. In general, TARIS has been the buyer of last resort, purchasing a large percentage of lower quality raisins. The quantity of raisins TARIS procured has varied from as low as 9,000 MT to as high as 75,000 MT during the last ten years due to variable production levels and quality. In MY 2013/14 TARIS bought 16,300 MT of the crop, which account to 6.7 percent of total production. 

TARIS and the Izmir Commodity Exchange are the two price determinants in the market. The former announces the advance procurement prices in the beginning of the season and the latter is the main cash market for raisins. 

Despite’s Turkey’s leading role in the production of raisins, domestic consumption is comparatively low, and most of the production (generally around 80 percent) is exported. Human consumption is around 20-25,000 MT and the industry consumption (for cakes, biscuits and snacks) is about the same amount which account to a total of 45.000 – 50.000 MT. 

Alcoholic beverages sector (lead by raki - a strong anise based Turkish alcoholic drink, and followed by wine and brandy) generally uses fresh grapes but also uses low quality raisins when there is excess supply. For MY 2014/15 post expects 20,000 MT of raisins to go into the raki industry in the light of expected production increase. 

In the last ten years, alcoholic beverage industry has been under the pressure of the conservative government actions such as restricting sales and marketing activities, heavy taxation, etc. which eventually reflected in a decrease of consumption. The Raki industry usually demands 350,000 MT of grapes, and the brandy and wine industries demand about 80,000 MT of grapes annually, and the wine grape production barely meets this demand. 

Trade: 

EU countries continue to be the top export destinations for Turkish raisins, and are predicted to be so in MY 2014/15 as well. The European Union accounts for 84 percent of Turkey’s raisin exports, and it’s relatively a flat market. In MY 2013/14 sultana raisin exports decreased to 185,000 MT due to the decrease in production, but exports should rebound to 245,000 tons in MY 2014/15. United Kingdom, Germany and Holland continue to be the top three importers of Turkish raisins. Due to the increase in yields in MY 2014/15, post expects an increase in the amount of exports and a decrease in prices. Currently the price of raisins is expected to be around 3 TL/kg by the Izmir Commodity Exchange in the upcoming marketing year which means the export price would be around 5 TL/kg