Turkey’s aquaculture sector made the biggest contribution to the country's exports in 2021 with a total export of 1 billion 436 million dollars.
Turkey has an important place in the production of seafood and animal derivatives in the world. Turkey is a country that is surrounded by seas on 3 sides and about 30% of it is covered with forests. Exporting to 142 countries in the world, Turkey has already reached its target of 2023 in recent years. The new target determined for 2023 by Turkey, which realizes exports of 3.5 billion dollars, is 4.2 billion dollars. Changing market conditions and the transportation sector have positively affected Turkey during the pandemic period. What does Turkey sell as seafood and animal products, which countries does it export to, and what awaits the sector in the future?
Aquaculture production, which was mostly made at the level of hunting in the past, has been done with farms recently. The establishment of fish farms on open and deep seas and using new techniques cause an increase in production. When the export-import data for 2020 is analyzed, it is seen that the export amount is 112 thousand tons. Likewise, it is seen that it is worth 893 million dollars from imports. According to the TUIK data, Turkey showed the greatest increase in aquaculture production in 2020 compared to the last five years. At the same time, a decrease of 11.2% was recorded in imports in 2020.
The most produced seafood includes sea bass, sea bream, and trout. 1 billion 20 million dollars of aquaculture exports realized in 2020 were made to 96 countries. 75% of these countries were European Union countries. Moreover, production-based export growth continued in 2021. Exports shifted more to countries such as Russia and Iraq than to the European Union in 2021. The expansion of the market has enabled Turkey to reach the export target earlier and expanded its logistics network.
In 2021, Italy, one of the European Union countries, became the country with the most imports from Turkey. Italy imported 164 million dollars in total. Another European Union country where import demand increased was Russia. Russia, which stands out with its demand for Turkish salmon, imported 259 million dollars of fisheries and animal products in 2021. In addition, Russia's imports increased by 84 percent in 2021. The country with the most imports was Iraq with $555 million in 2021. Turkey’s aquaculture sector made the biggest contribution in 2021 with a total export of 1 billion 436 million dollars. As the export data shows, there has been some increase in exports compared to 2020.
Animal foods generally consist of poultry meat, eggs, honey, milk, and dairy products. Turkey, with its 7 regions, is extremely suitable for animal production. There are dairy products and honey that are especially famous around the world. The foreign currency inputs of these products, which have high added value, are also quite high.
The seafood industry was followed by the poultry meat and egg industry with an export of 1 billion 312 million dollars. While poultry meat exported 926 million dollars, egg exports increased to 386 million dollars. The poultry industry increased its exports to China and Japan, especially in 2021. State-of-the-art production facilities and the fact that Turkey is a transit country in logistics are among the factors that facilitate trade. The dairy products sector, which was revived with the export visa it received to China, showed an export performance of 486 million dollars. While the honey sector brought 33 million dollars to Turkey, 303 million dollars of foreign exchange was obtained from the export of other products.
The opening of the Chinese market in dairy products since the beginning of the year has greatly strengthened the export performance of the sector. With the opening of the Chinese market for dairy products, Turkey gained a rapid export momentum. We can see this in export figures as well. Turkey exported 6 thousand tons of dairy products to China in March and earned 8 million dollars. In the January-March period, it exported 16.3 thousand tons of products worth 17.4 million dollars. With these figures, the People's Republic of China became Turkey's largest market for dairy products exports. Especially opening to Asian and Middle Eastern markets increases sectoral investments and competition.
Turkey has increased its product trade with the momentum it has gained in recent years, especially in the field of logistics. Turkey has become a material distribution and sales base to Asian, European, and African countries. In this way, exports of value-added products are increasing gradually. Turkey has become the new address of countries that prefer reliable and short-distance transportation due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Turkey, which has already achieved its 2023 targets in the export of seafood and animal products, continues to work to export more.