After China, Turkish cherries now enter South Korean market for first time

With the removal of barriers for cherry exports to China in July, South Korea has now become the second address for Turkish cherries in the Far East.

One of the largest fruit producer and exporter companies in Turkey operating under Tekfen Agriculture, Alanar Fruit has achieved another first in the Far East market following the export of cherries to China and set course for South Korea for the first time in Turkish fruit-growing history.

Turkish cherries, examined by Korean authorities on-site in Alanar's Alaşehir facilities, set out to Seoul in a ceremony held with Manisa Provincial Director of Agriculture and Forestry Metin Öztürk and ministry representatives in attendance.

A report prepared by the Korean authorities has paved the way for sustainable exports to South Korea.

In recent months, the company managed to introduce Turkish cherries into the Chinese market, known for its strict import rules, without requiring fumigation and was subsequently awarded an international flavor star certificate by the Brussels-based International Taste Institute.

Exports to China started in July after a protocol signed by the two countries ended the condition that cherries must wait 16 days in cold storage before export, removing one of the biggest obstacles to Turkish cherry exports to China.

Tekfen Agriculture General Manager Emrah İnce noted that 2019 brought many firsts and successes in terms of Turkish cherries. "The cherries we grew this year were awarded by the International Taste Institute with an international flavor star. Soon after, we entered the Chinese market, which was deemed impenetrable. Now, we have introduced the Turkish cherry to the South Korean market for the first time in history. We will continue to contribute to Turkish exports," he said.

Last year, Turkey sold 76,000 tons of cherries worth $162 million to 59 countries, including Germany and Russia. Sector representatives recently said they aim to reach $200 million this year thanks to the favorable picture for cherry exports. Turkey exported 65,000 tons of cherries between Jan. 1 and July 10, generating $155.7 million in foreign exchange. In the same period last year, Turkey exported 69,000 tons of cherries worth $152.2 million.

Stating that different fruits would advance on the path paved by cherries, İnce said that they were working on the development of Turkish agriculture and making the products in demand all over the world.

On the other hand, Metin Öztürk, Manisa Provincial Director of Agriculture and Forestry, emphasized the export area would expand under the protocol signed with South Korea.

"With the export of cherries to South Korea after the European, Russian, and Chinese markets, our cherries will be more in demand, and our producers will have the opportunity to earn better income. This situation will not only be limited to cherries in the coming period but also will increase the market opportunities of our other agricultural products," Öztürk noted.

South Korean Plant Quarantine Representative Huan San, who came to examine the cherries on behalf of South Korea and prepared the report that permitted the importation, said that they followed the production and storage processes in Turkey and that the Turkish cherries grown by Alanar fulfilled all the requirements.

"Korean people will appreciate Turkish cherries, whose flavor is internationally awarded," San stressed.

Cherries exported to the Far East were awarded the Golden Star flavor certificate with Superior Taste according to the results of the 2019 Taste evaluation and certification carried out by Brussels-based International Taste Institute. The process, where only products with a performance of over 70% are rated and certified by Michelin-starred chefs and by a jury consisting of world-renowned sommeliers, includes assessments of thousands of food and beverage products from all over the world.