Turkey will start exporting cherries to China later this spring, national carrier Turkish Airlines has confirmed to Air Cargo Week.
Turkey’s cherry season is May 10 – July 10 with some regional variations, the Istanbul-headquartered carrier said but declined to discuss further details.
The new trade not only illustrates demand in China for perishables but Turkey’s increasing role as an exporter of fresh products and the opportunities it creates for home-base carrier Turkish Airlines.
“In 2018, we estimate that our export via air cargo will exceed 10,000 tonnes,” Aegean Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Exporters’ Association chairman Rıza Seyyar told Turkey’s Anadolu news agency.
Exporters transported some 3,500 tonnes of products in 2016 and 6,200 tonnes in 2017 via air cargo, he adds.
“We also sat down with Turkish Airlines to start exporting these products to the Far East and South East Asian markets via air cargo faster and at a lower cost. After signing an agreement in 2017, we created very cost-effective tracks for some of our destinations,” says Seyyar.
Looking ahead and further afield, the Association is launching a production and development (P&D) project to firm up Turkey’s competitive position in exporting fresh cherries and grapes as well as looking at other countries. “Trade delegations formed as part of the project in 2017 have already visited Malaysia and Vietnam,” Seyyar told Anadolu.
One impediment to exports has been Asian concerns over Mediterranean fruit fly which meant export permits could only be agreed upon with quarantine agreements between the two countries’ agriculture ministries in place, Seyyar notes.
“As a result, nine producers and six packaging plants were allowed to export cherries to China after some intense negotiations and mutual visits. We are working hard to get an export permit to Vietnam in the coming days,” says Seyyar.