Fresh Plaza 2020

“We expect to increase our exported volumes this year, as Europe is facing challenges”

The Turkish cherry season is getting ready to take off. After seeing high demand from Asian countries in 2019, one Turkish exporter decided to upgrade its sorting and packing systems, to be able to meet said demand.

In preparation for the new cherry season in Turkey, Ani Tarim has invested in a new packing and sorting machine. According to Mehmet Cakmak, marketing manager of Ani Tarim, they believe it’ll be a good season: “For our company, we expect a fruitful cherry season, which will kick off mid-May. We accordingly keep working on preparations for the new season nowadays. This season our company will start with a major change in our cherry operations; we renewed our sorting & packing plant with a new machine. Ani Tarim is a family company, and we’ve been working in the fresh cherry sector for over 30 years in Isparta.”

As the world is dealing with a pandemic, some might be a bit pessimistic on the upcoming months, but Cakmak remains positive. He believes Ani Tarim will be able to export more cherries this year than they did last season.

“In 2019, we processed about 8500 tons of cherry in total and exported 6800 tons of it during the entire season. We can say last year was in general productive in terms of crop quality and market situation for us. Looking at the current situation, though the conditions are completely different due to the global pandemic and uncertainties at national economies compared to last year, we do not yet want to be pessimistic at all for 2020. We foresee that there might be disruptions to demand of fresh produce in European markets. Still, we expect to increase our exported volumes this year, as the main cherry producing European countries seem to be facing more serious challenges, such as lockdowns and labour shortages. Turkey doesn’t have these problems and could fill the gaps.”

So far, Turkey has had favourable weather when it comes to the cherry season, although there could still be challenging times ahead before harvest, says Cakmak. “The weather goes favourable so far in Turkey. We have not seen winter damages or spring frosts in our cherry orchards, which are currently in blooming phase. Besides, blooming in cherry orchards across the western Anatolia cities like İzmir, Manisa, Denizli and Isparta seems also promising for all Turkish cherry exporters this season but the risk of excessive and continuous rains always remain as a biggest threat in our minds for the following weeks. As Anı Tarım, we expect to harvest and start exporting towards the last week of May.”

Despite more demand last year, Ani Tarim was bottlenecked in how much produce they could process and send off. Thanks to an investment, they hope to be able to meet all demand this year. “Last year we noticed high demand of cherry especially from Asian countries like China and Singapore, but unfortunately we couldn’t meet all leads due to the capacity of our machine in 2019. We think that behind the increase particularly lies the protocol signed between China and our country last year in order to facilitate cherry exports from Turkey. For that reason, it was very necessary to us to adopt a new technological system, and in this context we have recently renewed our sorting & packing machine with Unitec Vision 2, which we hope will enable us to process larger amounts and further improve quality. As Ani Tarim, we’ve also expanded our marketing activities in different points like Scandinavia and Asia-Pacific in the last few years, as we’re ready to enter these markets now.” Cakmak explains.

Although Turkey’s measures taken against the Corona virus are not as extreme as some countries in Europe, Ani Tarim has still had to implement several precautions. “We’ve prepared to deal with all aspects of the Corona pandemic the best we can. So far, we’ve applied all the precautions, which are instructed by our national authorities. This includes implementing disinfectants, wearing masks-gloves and socially distancing measures and so on. We hope for everyone in the sector to keep going with minimal damages during this tough time.” Cakmak concludes.

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