The season for Turkish cherries will start about ten days later than last year. Thanks to a nice winter, the crops are in very good condition, although farming at a higher altitude did result into some varieties sustaining frost damages. One exporter from Turkey is ready to beat the competition, which they actually see as a challenge to improve their own produce.
The cherry season in Turkey is looking to be a great one, according to Mr. Hasan Siwaton, who is the export manager of Turkish exporting company Oragro Tarım. “The cherry season hasn’t officially started yet; we expect it to start at the end of week 21. It’s a little bit later than we expected, there has been a delay of about ten days. The season seems to become a good one though, as the crops look really good and we have had a nice winter with good temperatures.
Most of the produce that Oragro exports, finds its way into Europe, says Siwaton: “Europe is our biggest market, but China is coming into the picture as well. We’re still waiting for confirmation on that part though, so countries like Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy and France and the Scandinavian countries are most important to us.”
Scandinavia is one of the markets for Oragro, which is a desired market for many European exporters. Siwaton does not feel the territory needs a special approach compared to other markets: “All markets require the same thing; the best quality in terms of sweetness, good color and large sızes and a long shelf life. So no, I do not feel one needs to approach the Scandinavian market any different than they would approach China, for example. The reason we do so well in the Scandinavian countries is because we take care of our farms. We treat our cherry trees like our babies. Many growers try to cure any diseases that come up. We always try to be ahead of the sickness, and prevent any diseases from happening at all. This naturally results in great quality cherries, which our Scandinavian clients are very happy about.”
When it comes to competition, Siwaton has a very special outlook on how to deal with it. “We don’t actually see competition as a threat, or something we need to be afraid of. We see it as a challenge. Challenges force us to improve and become even better at what we do, so this is always a good thing. We are currently the number one for supermarkets in Europe and our quality is what it is because we’ve always wanted to become even better.” Siwaton says.
The Turkish exporter has set some clear goals for itself, to make sure they stay ahead. “We want to always be available for clients during the cherry-season. However, we also want to increase our volumes and production in general. We currently have 180 hectares of cherries, 40 hectares of apricots and 20 hectares blueberries, 50 hectares of grapes and 10 hectares of pears. This is quite a bit if you consider the fact we were not growing at all ten years ago. We have been in the trading business for nearly 40 years, but when it comes to growing the produce ourselves, these have just been the first steps. We do everything from one single farm, the harvesting, the packing and transporting for export. Our ambition reaches even further than this. Me and my brother Mr. Mehmet Cicek, who run the company together, are confident that we can deliver a healthy, tasty product that has a long shelf life.” Siwaton concludes.