Ranking first in cherry production and third in exports in global statistics, Turkey aims to become the main shareholder in the Chinese market, one of the largest consumers in the world.
Aegean Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Exporters' Association Chair Hayrettin Uçak said that a project is developing alternative cherry markets.
Uçak said that as a result of initiatives by the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock and the Ministry of Economy last year to send products to China after the European Union (EU), Russia and the U.S., the classic markets for cherries, the Chinese government granted permits to nine Turkish companies for cherry imports, which will start this year.
Stressing that yield and quality are satisfactory in exported cherries and that the first shipments will begin with the start of the harvest season, Uçak said Turkish cherries would be delivered to the Chinese market this season. "As the number of companies increases, it is possible to send 50,000 tons of cherries to China. Turkish exporters have this potential."
Underlining that cherries will be sent to China via air cargo, Uçak said the cherry is a very precious fruit in China and the presence of a cherry is a sign of wealth in their culture. He said the Chinese would express their wealth with Turkish cherries. "It can find a buyer at nearly five times the price sold in Turkey. Besides, the product is sold in half pound or smaller amounts," Uçak noted.Uçak said that the U.S. leads the way in China's cherry imports. "If we focus on good agricultural practices and have a little more sensitivity about spraying, the most consumed cherries in China may be Turkish cherries. As exporters, we will meet our producers frequently and solve problems in this regard," Uçak said.
Stating that after positive developments in China, the exporters continue searching for new markets for cherry exports without slowing down, Uçak said cherry exports to Taiwan might be in question with regards to new markets. "A delegation will come from this country next month and see cherry gardens, businesses and packaging stages. We anticipate that we will enter this market after welcoming this delegation," Uçak continued.According to Turkish Exporters' Assembly (TİM) data, Turkey exported $183 million of cherries in 2016. This figure dropped by 13 percent in 2017 to $159 million. Germany, which holds 52 percent of overall cherry exports, leads with $84 million, followed by Russia with $22 million and the Netherlands with $12 million.
Meanwhile, cherry exports to the Far East increased compared to 2016, with $2.1 million to Hong Kong, $1 million to Singapore and $400,000 to Malaysia.
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