Turkish flowers are used extensively by European consumers during the Christmas period which started on December 24th. This year Turkish growers have exported 70 million stems of cut flowers for Christmas period to various European countries. Most of the exports were made from the city of Antalya, the center of cut flower production in the country. The top cut flower varieties exported by Turkish growers were carnations, ranunculus, gerbera and green fillers for cut-flower bouquets.
Speaking to the press, Turkish Ornamental Plants and Cut Flowers Exporters Association Chairman Ismail Yilmaz remarked: “Our growers have started with shipments from the first week of December and most of the shipments were via trucks. The late orders coming closer to Christmas Day were sent through air freight. Our growers were able to export around 70 million stems of flowers this Christmas season and they earned approximately 7 million USD for their products. We have sent flowers mainly to the Netherlands, United Kingdom, and Germany. Russia was also another important export destination outside of Europe for our products.
Our assortment in Turkey is getting more diversified every year but carnation is still the most exported variety for our growers. Our growers note that carnations are the product where we have the most competitive advantage in the global market and our growers have established a strong market position in this variety. Almost 90 % of our exports are currently carnations. Due to climate conditions, our competitive position for other varieties is not strong.
During the Christmas season, there is a high demand, especially for red carnations. Other colors in demand are white, purple and maroon. Flowers are an important part of European culture. European people purchase and gift flowers to each other throughout the entire year. The global flower trade volume is around 21 billion USD and nearly 14 billion USD of this volume takes place in 16 European countries. In developed countries, flowers are a part of people’s daily life. Unfortunately, this is not the case in Turkey. The spending per person on floriculture products in Europe is on average 80 euros annually whereas this figure is around 4 euros in Turkey.
A spike has also been observed in the domestic demand during this season, however the domestic demand remained considerably smaller than the demand from export markets. In Turkey, approximately 30.000 are directly employed in the floriculture industry whereas around 300.000 people also earn their living indirectly through the floriculture industry. The production area for floriculture products in Turkey is close to 5.000 hectares.
Another added benefit of the floriculture industry is its contribution to the employment of women. Almost 65% of the people working in the floriculture industry are women.”
Employees at Flash Tarim, one of the most important growers and exporters in Turkey, were also extremely busy during this period. Bilgesu Candir, a manager at the company, noted: “After exports are completed, we worked very hard to supply mix bouquets to the supermarkets in the domestic market. Despite the economic recession, the sales numbers at the retailers indicate a 40 % increase in revenue in floriculture products compared to the previous year. Turkish consumers are especially interested in ruscus aculeatus, also known as Butcher’s broom, during the Christmas and New Year’s Eve period.”