Climatic and Economic Factors Drive Soaring Prices for Turkish Apricots, Sultanas / Raisins and Figs.
Unprecedented price increases in apricots, sultanas/ raisins, and figs from Turkiye have thrown the global market into disarray. A combination of adverse weather conditions, economic turmoil, and tight supply has led to soaring costs, making these popular dried fruits substantially more expensive than in previous years.
Factors Behind the Price Surge
The Surge in prices for dried fruits can be attributed to a confluence of factors:
- Unfavourable Weather Conditions: Despite a welcome increase in rainfall in 2023, the timing of the precipitation proved disastrous for Turkish fruit farmers. Traditional drying methods in the region involve drying fruits on the ground, which requires dry weather. Unfortunately, the rains coincided with the drying season, damaging a significant portion of this year’s crop. Figs, in particular, suffered substantial losses due to post-rain atmospheric moisture causing fruit to split, resulting in yield losses of up to 50%.
- Economic Woes: Turkiye is grappling with a severe economic crisis, marked by an inflation rate exceeding 150%. Processors, who play a crucial role in the supply chain, are facing a challenging situation due to a combination of a constrained credit market and escalating commodity prices.
- Limited Stock Availability: Growers, who are not in immediate need of cash, are holding onto their stock. Additionally, government intervention in the form of stock purchases and holdings by organizations like Taris and TMO has further reduced the available stock. This shortage of supply has pushed prices to record highs.
Current Price Situation
As of now, fig prices have surged to at least three times the levels of the previous year. Sultana/raisin prices continue to rise and currently hover around $2750 per ton, with no signs of slowing down since the release of the new crop about a month ago. In contrast, apricot prices have shown some stability, although they are not immune to the broader price volatility.
Predictions for the Future
It is anticipated that sultana/raisin and fig prices will likely remain at these elevated levels for the remainder of the year due to the real reduction in overall stock available. The full extent of the impact will become clearer after the Christmas season when the remaining stock availability is assessed.
Apricot prices, on the other hand, are expected to stabilise as more stock is released to the market over the coming months. However, the overall outlook for the dried fruit market appears to be a continued rocky ride in the foreseeable future, as the industry grapples with the aftermath of unfavourable weather, economic challenges, and limited supply.