Although dried fig production may fluctuate between 60-75 thousand tons according to annual climatic conditions, Turkey ranks as the world’s largest supplier of fresh and dried figs. Turkey realizes 24% of the world’s fresh fig production and more than half of the world’s dried fig exportation.
In Aydın – İzmir region, the best Turkish figs and dried figs are grown. The areas between the Nazilli district of Aydın and Torbalı district of İzmir are the ideal areas for dried fig production in Turkey. This region is very suitable for fig production due to soil and weather conditions. Thanks to the humid and hot weather, the most appropriate place for drying the figs produced is also in this region. The homeland of the fig, which is among the oldest fruits in the world, is this region. For this reason, dried figs produced in Aydın – İzmir region should be preferred for the best-dried figs of Turkey.
Fig production in Turkey is produced in Aydin and Izmir provinces over a large area and generally is a family run business, as it requires human labor in the field when collecting the figs from trees, selecting, sorting, screening and further processing the figs into different forms. After processing, figs acquire export names such as “layer”, “protoben”, “pulled”, “lerida”, “locum”, “garland”, “macaroni”, “baglama”, “cukulata”, and “umbrella” based on their shapes. Drying improves both storage life and the food value of the fig.
Turkish fresh figs contain 80% water and 12% sugar; however, the sugar content rises to 50% when dried. Turkish dried fruits are grown under natural conditions, harvested, and dried under controlled conditions. They are graded, stored and packaged, and packed in hygienic conditions following the strict rules of internationally accepted quality control systems. Regarding the safety of production, before being processed in the factories, dried fruits are subject only to scientific and international treatments.
There are many kinds of dried figs produced in Turkey. We can divide these fig species into two main groups. Mountain Fig and Lowland Fig.
Lowland Fig: Dried figs grown in lowland regions. Generally, irrigation is done at certain times. Since it is close to the city, it is exposed to various air pollution. Therefore, we can say that there is a high amount of spraying and fertilizing. It is very shapely in terms of appearance. They are large and close to white in terms of color. However, it has a lack of aroma and quality. At the same time, the risk of spraying is much higher with such figs. For this reason, it should not be preferred unless it is compulsory.
Mountain figs: Dried figs that grow in mountainous regions, as the name suggests. It grows in high altitude regions, and small producers in these regions produce dried figs. In general, they are figs that do not use chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and artificial irrigation.
Although apricot production is made in many parts of the world, the countries where apricot production is intensely made today are neighboring the Mediterranean and Europe. The quality of apricot varieties is needed in Turkey ranks first in the world production of dried apricots and the ecological advantages that have has great potential.
Turkey is at the top of the fresh and dried apricot producing countries with approximately 730 thousand tons of fresh and 103 thousand tons of dried apricot exportation in 2016. Turkey’s fresh apricot exportation meets nearly 20% of the world’s needs, and almost 61% of the dried apricot production in the world is supplied from Turkey. In 2017, dried apricot export from Turkey met nearly 68% of the worldwide production with 145 thousand tons.
Almost all of the dried apricot production in Turkey is carried out in the Malatya province. The province of Malatya is highly suitable for apricot cultivation due to its ecological and soil characteristics. In Turkey, 60% of fresh apricot production👍 and almost all of the dried apricot production, that is 95%, are carried out in Malatya. When evaluated from this point of view, Malatya province is the apricot exportation center in Turkey and the whole world, with both the number of trees and the production of fresh and dried apricots.
Apricot cultivation, which is spread across most of the agricultural regions of Turkey, finds its best environment in the Central Eastern Anatolian Region, where nearly half of the apricots are produced. Due to the province’s ecology, apricots from Malatya have gained economic value in the form of dried apricots for years.
Dried apricot production in Turkey is integrity starting from the soil until it passes into the consumer’s hands. It is possible to obtain a quality product by performing all these steps in accordance with the technique. Since the production process of apricot before harvest has an agricultural nature, it will be excluded from the scope of the study, and the production process after harvest will be focused on. Various transactions take place between the harvest of the dried apricot and its presentation to the market. Some of these processes are carried out by apricot producers in Turkey, and some are carried out in apricot processing facilities.
Another important factor that determines the quality of apricot is harvest. The apricot harvest starts in the middle of July of every year in Turkey and is completed within approximately three weeks. In this period, the producer goes under an intense workload.
The best harvest type is hand harvest. While the fruit and tree are not damaged in hand harvest, it is ensured that the fruit quality is also high. One of the most important reasons for the delicious and high quality of apricots in Turkey is hand harvest, which is easily made due to the cheap labor. Thus, it is ensured that the fruits are always at the same maturity.