Turkish cherry growers have surpassed their yearly export target of 80,000 tons, thanks to the opening up of the Chinese market and favorable seasonal conditions, generating a record $183 million in revenues. According to the Aegean Exporters' Association (EİB), Turkey's cherry exports, in the eight-month season between Jan. 1 and Aug. 21, hit 80,406 tons worth $183.1 million. The figure broke the previous record set back in 2016, despite a two-week delay in the initiation of export operations. The EİB data showed that Turkey exported 78,524 tons of cherries worth $182.6 million in 2016. Exports, however, declined the following year to only 59,806 tons, generating $158.9 million.
Last year, the aggregate cherry exports were recorded at 76,094 tons, worth $161.6 million.
Germany came first among buyers of Turkish cherries with imports worth $87.3 million. It was followed by Russia with $42.1 million in cherry imports. The Netherlands ranked third with $10.2 million.
With the launch of exports this season, China has become the fourth-largest market along with Hong Kong. While cherry exports to mainland China totaled $3.3 million, sales to Hong Kong exceeded $6.5 million. A large portion of cherry exports to Hong Kong was later destined for China.
The Aegean Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Exporters Association Chairman Hayrettin Uçak told Anadolu Agency (AA) Friday that Turkish cherry has become a worldwide brand, famous for its taste and aroma.
Uçak stressed that the entry into the Far Eastern market and the removal of barriers for cherry exports to China has secured record export volumes this season. "We are already prepared for the next season. We aim to swiftly increase cherry sales to China," he said.
He added that sales to South Korea next year will also see an upward movement and noted that exporters are eyeing a total of $200 million in cherry exports this year.
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