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On the subject of exporting, Gürsoy explained: "Türkiye supplies 65-70% of hazelnuts in the world every year. Although Italy, the US, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Chile, and Spain are also top producers, Türkiye leads the way globally in terms of volume and quality. In 2020, Türkiye exported 280,924 tons of hazelnut kernels for a value of $1.9 billion. Year-on-year hazelnut exports decreased by 12% and year-on-year foreign currency exports by 4% due to the downturn in export markets caused by the pandemic. The pandemic has hit the domestic market harder, with demand decreasing by 15%. However, in 2021, the strict measures and vaccination campaigns in the European countries will positively affect the markets for the June-December period, which will accelerate the positive trend in consumption. So, we think hazelnut producers should keep investing in their facilities."
The pandemic has brought to the fore once again the importance of automation and optical sorting solutions in the food industry. The rapid increase of labor costs, the added costs of the measures necessary to protect workers in and out of the facility, as well as the costs relating to the loss of labor, are all factors that highlight the importance of automation and mechanization.
Dursun Gürsoy explained, "Although Türkiye started using optical sorting solutions about 10-15 years ago, the use of these machines is still not sufficient. The rapid increase in financing costs makes it impossible for small- and mid-sized companies to invest. Large-scale companies strive to equip their facilities with optical sorting systems in accordance with their financial capabilities. However, the high finance charges and the downward trend of profit margins due to strong competition in the hazelnut sector are slowing down investments in optical sorters. The percentage of optical sorting systems in small- and medium-sized companies is below 5%, and despite widespread use of these systems in large-sized companies, it is still below 50%. But I believe that the negative effects of this pandemic will accelerate decisions to invest."
TOMRA Food Türkiye Sales Manager Ahmet Koçyiğit said: "The TOMRA 5C premium optical sorter combines industry-leading sensors with machine learning and big-data analysis to ensure the most accurate foreign material removal possible. High-resolution lasers and the latest generation sensors help the TOMRA 5C detect and analyze the smallest defects, which are impossible to scan with other machines. With this sorter, we address the biggest challenges of the nut and dried fruit industry, such as labor, food safety and product quality. Gürsoy will be the first hazelnut processor in Türkiye to use this special machine thanks to its approach being always open to improvement."