Turkey's cherry exports increased to some 76,000 tons this year - amounting to $161.7 million, vice chairman of the Uludağ Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Exporters' Association (UYMSİB), Senih Yazgan, said Wednesday. This year broke the 2016 record oxf 78,700 tons worth $182.7 million.
Yazgan said several seasonal problems made it very difficult to grow cherries this year, including sudden rain and hail.
"If we had the same climatic conditions this year as they were in the past years, these 76,000 tons would have certainly exceeded 80,000 tons," Yazgan said.
He added: "We had the product ready, but the exporters held it back instead of exporting sub-standard goods, so as to not lose its place in the European market."
Sales to Russian markets increased to 24,100 tons, a 66.7 percent rise, from $21.8 million last year to $31.5 million this year.
The second-highest exports were made to Germany, with an increase from 23,000 tons to 23,600 tons, and a rise in value from $83.9 million to $84.4 million.
Iraq came in third place with 13,000 tons worth $3.8 million, while exports to England saw the largest increase of 129.7 percent.
Last year, the cherry export totaled 65,000 tons earning revenues worth $159 million.
Meanwhile, featuring Turkey as the world leader in its production and the third country in exports, cherries are on their way to remote markets with Turkish Cargo.
With the agreement between exporters of fresh fruit and vegetables and Turkish Airlines' (THY) subsidiary Turkish Cargo, exporters have been provided discounts in accordance with the destination. Turkish cherries, which have a place in world markets due to their quality, have become one of the products to benefit most from the agreement.
Having suffered due to their short shelf life and high freight costs for exports, cherry producers were able to send their products to 20 countries by air.
So far this year, Germany, Russia and the Netherlands are the biggest markets for Turkish cherries. Exports to Indonesia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Bahrain experienced a substantial increase.
Turkish cherries have recently entered the Chinese market after eight years of hard work.
Initial exports were recorded at 6 tons, but exporters have said that this can rise in accordance with the satisfaction of Chinese consumers. Exporters predict that a large proportion of the cherries produced will be exported to China as cherry prices in the country are very high, which makes Turkish cherries very attractive.
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