World Bulletin/News Desk
Turkish milk exports were banned from the EU for nearly 13 years, but a lifting of the ban earlier this month has dairy producers expecting an ambitious $1 billion in annual revenue from the renewed trade.
Harun Çallı, president of the Milk Producers and Exporters Union (ASÜD), was quoted by the Turkish daily Sabah on Wednesday as saying that total dairy exports to the EU “are expected within this year to grow from $228 million to $1 billion.” Çallı told the paper that Turkish dairy producers had lobbied Brussels “for nearly three years” to export to the EU, where strict health regulations had ruled out Turkish milk since 2000.
Six Turkish dairies are currently licensed to export to the continent, but Çallı said the number could reach 20 or more by next year if other Turkish firms pass EU agricultural tests.
Exporters will doubtless be helped in their ambitions by hefty subsidies from Ankara, which Çallı said gave out TL 2.5 billion ($1.38 million) to dairy farmers in 2012, up sharply from TL 83 million ($46 million) in assistance in 2002. The dairy union head also said his group's new target would be growing markets in Russia, China and various nations in the Middle East, where strong protectionism bars all Turkish dairy products.
Earlier this month Agriculture and Rural Affairs Minister Mehdi Eker said the EU decision is likely to help Turkish dairy farmers enter other markets, telling reporters: “The EU now says ‘Turkey is within EU standards.' Before, there were Middle Eastern countries we couldn't export to [because Turkey didn't meet EU standards]. So this is an opening, and it's won Turkey an important advantage.”Last Mod: 25 Nisan 2013, 15:08