C-Suite Agenda

A Case for Hazelnuts

Edip Sevinc

Edip Sevinc is one of the foremost authorities on hazelnuts in the world. As a board member of the Black Sea Hazelnut & Hazelnut Products Exporters’ Association (KFMIB) since 1978, Sevinç is a connoisseur of the nut, which also can go by the name ‘filberts’ or ‘cobnuts.’ With more than 40 years in the hazelnut industry, he has worked tirelessly alongside the industry’s top stakeholders to increase exports and global awareness of Turkish hazelnuts, which covers approximately 70 percent of the world`s production and export respectively.

As 2019 wraps up, Sevinç is excited about the future and to continue strong and prosperous relationships with global partners like China. A record-setting level of hazelnut exports is expected in the 2019-2020 season, surpassing the previous record, 301 thousand tons, set during the 2012-2013 season.

2019 has been a good year for Turkey’s hazelnut exports, much better than the 2018 crop which saw a 10% decrease. “Due to the currency straits, we couldn’t earn as much as we expected,” Sevinç cites as the reason for last season’s export’s performance.

Although the future looks promising, Sevinç knows that the agricultural crop is also affected by environmental conditions and various circumstances contributed to fluctuations in production levels in previous years. Fortunately, Turkey’s exceptional agricultural practices are prepared for these changes. Sevinç expects positive developments for increasing the yield and quality of production moving into the 2020-2021 season.

A Long-standing Tradition

Hazelnuts have played a major role in Turkey’s export industry for ages. The demand for hazelnuts continues to rise: the world’s top importers know that Turkey’s hazelnuts are unsurpassed by any other hazelnut crop in the world due to a variety of factors including Turkey’s ideal favorable growing conditions and long-standing experience with the crop. The attention that Turkey’s hazelnuts have received doesn’t surprise Sevinç in the least. As chairman of the former Hazelnut Promotion Group, he has first-hand knowledge of the country’s superior hazelnut quality.

“The Black Sea region of North Turkey has the best ecological conditions in the world for the production of hazelnut,” Sevinç explains.

Turkey dominates in hazelnut production and export worldwide, delivering a pure crop that passes strict chemical and physical requirements and hygiene control measures. *

What should people know about Turkish hazelnuts? That’s a question that brings a smile to Sevinç’s face, and one he eagerly answers. He wants people to know that Turkish hazelnuts are a “superfood” and have many health benefits. Not only is the nut a great source of Vitamin E, fiber and rich minerals such as phosphorus, calcium, and iron, but it’s also a heart-friendly nut with the right amount of mono-unsaturated fat for optimal heart health.

Preparing for the Future

Hazelnuts have always been a part of Turkish horticulture, but for the tradition to continue, Sevinç says Turkey must take care of its agriculture productivity. As a current board member of the Turkish Exporters Assembly (TİM) and Turkey Promotion Group (TPG), Sevinç offers this sage advice:

“Our plots are getting older, therefore to reach the desired volume of export, we must continue care of them and plant new varieties of hazelnuts that can easily adapt to the climate. However, first, we need to invest in the product, and we need to produce.”

Investing in the product is essential because Sevinç expects an influx of interest in Turkish hazelnuts as a result of the advertising campaign set to launch. The campaign focuses on raising awareness for Turkish hazelnut production in the USA, India, Russia, Mexico, Brazil and several north African countries. So far, Sevinç and the Turkish hazelnut industry have seen promising results and hope to achieve the same in China. However, it takes time to build export relationships, which is why Turkey must continue to invest in the quality and the number of its production efforts.

Sevinç is proud of his country’s hazelnut culture. Although the annual production fluctuates between 450,000 – 900,000 tons, 70% of the world’s hazelnut production comes from the Black Sea region.* Sevinç’s four decades in the hazelnut industry has played an important role in helping Turkey continue the horticultural tradition of hazelnut production.

He wants people to know that hazelnuts are more than nuts with promising health benefits. It’s at the heart of an income-generating industry and a way of life for many Turkish families. The tradition of hazelnut production is something Sevinç knows is precious to his heritage and his country. It’s something worth protecting, improving and promoting to bring Turkey’s superior hazelnuts to as many people worldwide. Additional resources.

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Turkey Promotion Group (TPG)
Turkey Promotion Group (TPG) was established under the roof of Turkish Exporters' Association (TIM) to unify all communication activities promoting Turkey, as well as Turkish products and services in the global marketplace. TPG's mission is to amplify and promote Turkey's 'Discover the Potential' brand in the global arena; to highlight Turkey's economic potential and provide facts and figures about the country and its exported products.