The coronavirus outbreak that originated from the Wuhan province of China has hurt the sunflower seed business in the city of Kayseri in central Turkey.
The coronavirus outbreak has hindered imports of Chinese sunflower seeds that were introduced to Turkey at the beginning of 2018 and were said to “invade the market.”
By the end of 2018, Chinese sunflower seeds became a top choice for consumers and were sold at 20 Turkish Liras a kilo.
With no sunflower seed imports in sight and plummeting stocks, wholesale retailer Cuma Tan expects the price of Chinese sunflower seeds to rise to 40 TL a kilo.
“If we foresee a shortage in domestic sunflower seeds stocks, we will have to raise prices, or even worse, we won’t be able to find any sunflower seeds to sell,” Tan said.
Wholesale retailer Tan said he puts about two tons of sunflower seeds on the market each week and only has enough stock remaining for 15 days.
Pending sunflower seeds
According to Hüsamettin Karaman, the head of the Association of Turkish Nut and Dried Fruit Industrialists and Businessmen (TÜKSİAD), Turkey consumed 120 tons of sunflower seeds in 2019, most of which was imported from China.
Karaman added that though the product was loaded onto ships prior to the coronavirus outbreak, the imports have been kept in the Mediterranean port of Mersin.
“If the sunflower seeds from China are kept in customs [as a precaution] the price of the good can increase up to 40 TL,” Tan said. “It’ll hurt both customers and vendors.”
The coronavirus outbreak has affected other food products as well and Tan said that all imports had been halted.