Turkish cherry growers expect exports to China to increase significantly as a condition that cherries should wait for 16 days in cold storage before being shipped has been revoked.
“A protocol between the two countries regarding cherry exports has taken effect, which removed obstacles before Turkish growers’ access to the Chinese market,” Turkish Ambassador to Beijing Abdülkadir Emin Önen told Anadolu Agency.
“The respective protocol was signed back in 2015 during the G20 summit held in the Turkish province of Antalya. All conditions in the protocol have been met,” Önen said.
The 16-day-cold storage requirement had drastically limited the amount of cherry exports to China, according to the ambassador.
“Cherry exports were only at $27,000 last year when China imported $1.3 billion worth of cherries around the world,” he said.
Turkey’s cherry exports amounted to $161 million last year as local growers shipped some 76,000 tons of the fruit.
In the first five months of this year, local growers raised some $82.4 million of revenue, exporting 30.6 tons of cherries.
Germany, Russia and Norway are the largest export market for Turkish cherry producers.
“Turkey delivered $84.4 million worth of cherries to Germany, followed by Russia with $31.4 million. Cherry exports to Norway stood at $8.4 million,” said Hakki Bahar, the head of the Western Mediterranean Exporters Union (BAIB).
Halil Oymak, an agricultural engineer working at a cherry exporting company, said 90 percent of the company’s shipments are destined for European countries.
“The opening of the Chinese market to Turkish markets is … welcome news. Cherries picked from the field will arrive at the facilities within 30 minutes. They will be processed and be on their way to China on planes or ships the same day,” said Oymak.
“We can now export up to 80 percent of our products to China,” he added.