Although cherries aren’t currently in season in Greece, YAKA IKE is preparing for the new year. Like in every other sector, China is the market to enter, but Yaka has a couple of more tricks to ensure they stay ahead of their competition. New machinery is expected to secure the quality of the cherries.
We’re still a few months off before the cherry season in Greece starts up again. Last season cherry packing company Yaka IKE exported about 800 tons of cherries. After the season of 2019 starts in May, the company is expecting to export around 1200 tons of cherries. Levent Sadik Ahmet, president of Yaka IKE, feels the company is doing well: “Our cherries are harvested in the North and Central part of Greece, while our packing facility is in Komotini, which is in the Thrace area. Last season we mainly exported the cherries to Germany, the United Kingdom and some countries in Asia. The next few years though, we’d like to focus on reaching the Chinese market. Naturally we’d also like to increase our share of the European countries.”
When it comes to exporting cherries to Europe, Sadik Ahmet knows who his competition is: “The biggest competition is from Turkey. Their currency, volume and overall good quality helps them sell their product well. We do have an edge though, as Greece is a country within the European Union and we’re taking care of all the regulations that will help us.” This isn’t the only reason Sadik Ahmet thinks his company will come out ahead though: “Yaka is the only exporter that is AA+ BRC certified in Greece, with a score of 100 per cent at International Featured Standards and with about 300 Global Gap certified growers. This gives our customers security in the sense of quality, transparency and reliability. Our hygiene standards are very high and our doors are always open for all our reliable customers.”
Now that the new year has started, there are some clear goals for Yaka IKE, according to Sadik Ahmet: “We want to increase our service to our customers even more, along with our volumes and global market share. We’re also hoping our facility will be among the first that can export to the most special and dedicated markets, like China. As of today Greece hasn’t exported to China yet. We hear there are negotiations in the pipeline, but nothing is finalized yet. We currently have an 8 line optic Compac calibrator, we’ll most likely buy one or two new hydrocoolers in the areas that receive the cherries in order to ensure better quality.”