Turkish Citrus (AKIB) aims to expand in the Far East

Together with a number of exhibitors travelling to showcase their products, the Turkish citrus sector was represented at the recent edition of Asia Fruit Logistica by 11 board members of the Turkish Citrus Promotion Group (AKIB), including Erdinc Yilmaz, whom FreshPlaza interviewed to find out about the prospects for the next citrus campaign.

Mr Yilmaz himself is optimistic about the upcoming citrus season, despite the fact that the opportunities open in the Russian market last year were not tapped to their full potential. “Problems have also been caused by the currency devaluation against the dollar in our markets; and Egypt, which is growing considerably in the easy-peelers market and has signed a VAT-free deal with Putin, which we don’t have, is another big threat.”

In any case, Turkey remains Russia’s largest supplier of citrus fruits, accounting for 60% of the Russian market’s consumption. “We have been present in that market for over 20 years; we are very close and have many connections and deals with supermarkets, but there is so much competition that we are trying to open new roads in the Far East.” That is the main motivation behind the visit to Asia Fruit Logistica.

He assures that, in terms of quality standards, there are no concerns whatsoever. “Since we have already been exporting for a long time to the very demanding European Union. All our exporting firms are Global G.A.P., ISO 22:000, BRC and IFS certified, which are similar standards to those required by Japan. But of course, there are also political strategies involved.”

Another factor to take into account is changing consumer trends, with a noteworthy growth in the popularity of easy-peelers and an extension of the mandarin season, which can now last for up to 8 months. “We have (recently) been in South Africa, Brazil and Argentina and we’ve seen the same as in Egypt: grapefruit and orange being removed in order to plant more mandarins.”
In this increasingly competitive context, Mr Yilmaz states that Turkish producers will aim to show their understanding of the needs of consumers in the new Asian markets. “After that, we’ll become a good friend, supplier and trade business partner; delivering the highest quality won’t be a problem for us.”

For more information:

Erdinc Inan Yilmaz
Turkish Promotion Group
Tel +90 324 325 37 37-1135
Mob 0090-555-800-4050
Email erdincinanyilmaz@hotmail.com

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