Turkey has started exporting eggs to a number of European countries where productions slumped after batches containing high levels of toxic insecticide were discovered last July.
The Aegean Fisheries and Animal Product Exporters Association Vice Chairman Bedri Girit said for two months now Turkey is exporting eggs to European countries that were for year's unwilling to buy from here.
Girit said egg productions in Europe dropped after a number of batches were found to be contaminated with Fipronil, an insecticide used in a number of European countries. So far, the pastry and cake industry has been the worst hit.
"They have been already been observing egg production in Turkey for years. They preferred us because they knew that our products are healthy. We have started exporting category B products. There is little difference between category A and category B products. Eggs that will be pasteurized are classified in the B category," he said.
"We do not export category A eggs that can be sold directly to consumers. We have fulfilled all the requirements. But the European Union is hindering the export for political reasons. We are working to solve this issue."
Girit said they have also started exporting eggs to Iran, which had to cull a huge number of chickens because of bird flu. He confirmed that a contract to sell 50,000 tons of eggs has already been signed and the sales will be made gradually over the next six months.
Noting that egg exports grew by 25-26 percent last year, Girit said they expect an even better performance in 2018 because of the developments with the EU and Iran.
"We do not think that the increase in exports will put pressure on egg prices in the domestic market," Girit said.
Meanwhile, Turkish Egg Producers (YUM-BİR) Association Secretary General Hüseyin Sungur said Turkey produced a total of 19.5 billion eggs in 2017 while exports saw a 30 percent increase compared to 2016, generating $377 million.
The increase was predominantly boosted by exports to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and to the EU.
"The most important development was resuming sales to some EU countries including Greece, Spain, and Romania," Sungur said.
After the tainted egg scandal in the EU, the production across the continent fell and prices went up, which in turn boosted demands for Turkish products.
Sungur recalled that the last time Turkey exported eggs to the EU was in 2012 and said the Ministry of Food, Agriculture, and Livestock continues its efforts to increase exports to the EU.
For Iran, eggs from Turkey have undercut its dependence on the Iraqi market by as much as 75 to 80 percent.