Turkey has received a permit to export cherries to China following a round of serious negotiations between Turkish exporters and the Chinese authorities. Chairman of the Aegean Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Exporters' Association Rıza Seyyar recently announced the development to the media at the Aegean Exporters' Association (EİB) headquarters in İzmir.
He claimed that since taking the office, they have undertaken over 10 projects, doing their best to support Turkey's fresh fruit and vegetable exports.
Seyyar noted that they saw the negative effect of being dependent on a single market after the crisis with Russia. "After the crisis, we thought about what we could do to change the situation. We explored the markets in Japan, Malaysia, China, and South Korea, and saw how much our cherry and fresh figs were worth," he said.
"We also sat down with Turkish Airlines (THY) to start exporting these products to the Far East and South East Asian markets via air cargo faster and at a lower cost. After signing an agreement in 2017, we created very cost-effective tracks for some of our destinations."
Seyyar said that the exporters transported some 3,500 tons of products in 2016 and 6,200 tons in 2017 via air cargo. He added that an 18 percent increase was also recorded in dollar terms. "In 2018, we estimate that our export via air cargo will exceed 10,000 tons," he said.
He also noted that the association was launching a production and development (P&D) project to increase Turkey's competition power in exporting fresh cherries and grapes. "Trade delegations formed as part of the project in 2017 have already visited Malaysia and Vietnam," he said.
He added that they were also promoting fruits and vegetable exports to Germany, Russia, Hong Kong, Israel and Dubai. He pointed out that many countries in the Far East were hesitant towards importing fresh fruits from Turkey due to the presence of the Mediterranean fruit fly and that export permits could only be agreed upon with quarantine agreements between the two countries' agriculture ministries.
"As a result, nine producers and six packaging plants were allowed to export cherries to China after some intense negotiations and mutual visits. We are working hard to get an export permit to Vietnam in the coming days," Seyyar said. "Of course, the projects in this direction should be followed step by step so Turkish products can take their places in these markets," he said.