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Turkish growers benefit from European cherry shortage

A shortage in European cherry production is leading to great opportunities for Turkish suppliers, according to a report from Fresh Plaza.
In an interview with Yavuz Taner, CEO of Turkish fruit company Alanar Fruit, Fresh Plaza revealed that European supermarkets are struggling to obtain cherries from their regular sources. Producers in countries such as Greece, Italy and Spain, are failing to reach demand. 
Subsequently, European buyers are looking to other cherry-producing nations to fill gaps in the market. Turkey’s producers, are seeing more and more of their product shipped to Europe’s many markets.
Alanar Fruit’s harvesting methods give glimpses into how Turkish producers are lengthening their cherry seasons, which is giving them the edge over European competitors. The company uses different growing regions to stagger the harvest. 
“We are finishing the harvest in the earliest regions at sea level. We have been packing cherries for over 12 days,” Mr Taner told Fresh Plaza on June 7 2016. “Then, we’re going to start our next harvest of the growing areas in the Izmir region, which are situated at an altitude of 600 meters above sea level.”
Once the Izmir harvest begins to slow down, Alanar Fruit will begin harvesting produce in the Alyfon region, which is located some 800 metres above sea level. In total, the company has 60 hectares allotted for cherry production. “Our target this year is to export about 300,000 tons to Europe and the Far East. We’re making use of varieties such as 0900 Ziraat and Regina, which are suited perfectly for export,” Mr Taner told Fresh Plaza.
Fresher produce, available for a longer period, is the end result of these fluid harvesting practices. As such, demand for Turkish cherries is growing in newer markets – ideal given the Russian food bans affecting Turkey. 
Mr Taner told Fresh Plaza that he isn’t too worried about the consequences that Russia’s food embargo could potentially bring. “Of course, Russia was a good market. However, Turkish exporters were only sending small volumes to Russia. The competition from Europe was quite high. Also, Turkish cherry volumes aren’t sufficient enough for Europe as it is, so the lack of the Russian market isn’t that big of problem for us.”
Taner is quite optimistic about the future of the cherries that his company produces. “The quality of our product is excellent. Because of this, we’ve been getting more recognition from clients in the Far East and India. 
Turkish producers are being recognised as champions of the cherry sector. The competition will always be tough, but our quality is more than a match for our competitors.” 
Source: www.freshplaza.com

Image: Jeremy Keith via Wikimedia Commons


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