Although the Western world has questions about its political stability and last year’s coup attempt led to internal tensions, Turkey remains a very promising country. With 5% economic growth and 80 million relatively young, well-educated inhabitants enjoying increasing wealth, it looks golden for substantial floral sales. Turkey could also be the gateway to Eurasia, a region with increasing wealth. In order to seize this opportunity, Turkey needs to build up its horticultural industry.
Let’s start with the bad news. Turkish import duties for flowers will hopefully decline soon, but currently they are 46.8%. For this reason, local wholesalers, retailers, florists and street vendors use mostly local products. Turkey’s floral production area is over 4600 hectares, but half of it is planted with carnations. So Turkish florists also use flowers and plants from abroad.
Turkey has flower auctions, mainly for small-scale sales to local street vendors and florists. The better florists buy from wholesalers that sell the better local products and import flowers and plants.
High-end consumers, florists and retailers
Increasing wealth makes Turkish high-end consumers even more important. Rich urbanites express themselves with flowers. Top florists help them spend their money. Still, Turkish per capita spending on flowers and plants is lower than in most European countries, which then offers ample opportunities. People buy flowers and plants for their personal use or as gifts. Experts predict GDP to grow and consumers to spend more money in the near future. Retailers, mainly located in urban areas, expect continuous growth, although the knowledge level of Turkish retailers doesn’t yet match European and American standards.
In general there is room for improvement by lowering import duties, building a good supply chain, creating added value and care and handling. Fortunately, the government is willing to invest in infrastructure, in building up a horticultural industry and in greening cities.
In July 2016 there was an attempt to take over power in Turkey. In April, Turkish voters gave more power to President Erdogan by a small margin. In Turkey, as in other countries, there is more nationalism and populism. But economics is also about the long term. And in the long term Turkey will be more prosperous, which means consumers can buy more flowers and plants. Despite political disputes between Turkey and some of its neighboring countries, there is nothing wrong with the economic relations between these countries. Countries like Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Iran, Israel and Saudi Arabia are within easy reach of Turkey. So Turkey can be the gateway to a much larger region.
Since 2014, Royal FloraHolland has actively stimulated business opportunities in Turkey by connecting, simplifying and strengthening local horticultural framework. After analysing the situation, local business networks, infrastructures and relationships with governmental institutions were built up. Local and Dutch RFH employees work with local organisations and business people to strengthen the flower industry (production, wholesale, floristry, retail and transit business). Despite political instability and cultural differences, the expertise offered by the Dutch platform, powered by Royal FloraHolland, is highly trusted. Turkey may currently be underdeveloped in its horticultural industry, but entering the market at the ground level should pay off handsomely in the near future.