Cherries grown in Afyonkarahisar's Sultandağı district are widely exported to European countries, such as Germany, Britain, Belgium, France and the Netherlands, for use in cosmetics, medicine and the food industry.
Turkey has an important position in cherry exports, Provincial Director of Food, Agriculture and Livestock İbrahim Acar said yesterday, noting that 70 percent of cherries produced in Afyonkarahisar are exported.
"The cherry harvest in our city has started. Our exporters are making agreements and purchasing cherries. We export around 70 percent of our products every year, but it's increasing even more this year. We estimate that this ratio will reach 80-90 percent."
Seasonal conditions this year and the early start of the cherry harvest reflect positively on Turkey's cherry exports, which might hit a record high this year, about 85,000 tons with a value of $200 million, officials previously said.
In Sultandağı, 5,000 tons of these cherries are produced per year, Acar said, adding that the price is slightly lower than other cherry varieties all of which are exported.
"It is usually consumed as frozen food. It is also used in food and the cosmetics industry and exported to many European countries, such as Germany, France and Britain," Acar added.
Sultandağı Cherry Cooperative Chair and Mayor Osman Acar said the local cherries are harvested primarily in the region and are mainly used in cosmetics, medicine and the food industry.
"Yield and the price are not very high for these cherries. They are usually bought by factories and used as sweeteners and colorants," he added. "They are also used in the cosmetics industry. We know that the seeds and stalks are also used in the pharmaceutical industry. Thus, we call them industrial cherries."
Acar said that these cherries ripen earlier than other types.
"This cherry also has a market, but the market is low this year, costing about TL 1.5 ($0.32) per kilogram. These cherries are usually exported to European countries such as Germany, Britain, Belgium, France and the Netherlands for use in the cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and food industries," he concluded.