The Turkish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry's efforts have paid off and the bureaucratic problems in the cherry trade with China have been resolved. Turkey's cherry exports to China officially started with a ceremony in Cay, Afyonkarahisar, a city located in western Turkey.
Turkey and China have been working on a deal for the cherry trade since 2013. A plant health protocol regarding Turkish cherry exports to China was signed in November 15, 2015 during the G20 Antalya summit.
China asked for cold storage
According to the protocol, Chinese experts visited cherry gardens, packaging and cold storage facilities before 2016 and 2017 exports season. Following the inspections, they gave approval for gardens and facilities. China pays these visits once a year.
However, the protocol signed between two countries required the product to be stored in 1 celsius degree or less for 16 days. This waiting time lowered the quality of the cherries and due to this problem exports were very limited.
Following negotiation meetings, Turkey and China revised the protocol and the condition of "16-day waiting time in cold storage" has been removed. Alternatively, a three-hour fumigation system has been adopted.
China approved orchards and facilities
As a result of joint work between Turkey and China, the cherry gardens that received Chinese approval for exports increased from 17 to 39 and the number of Chinese-approved packaging/cold storage facilities increased from 8 to 15. Besides, 13 fumigation application facilities also received approvals.
Cherry exports to China officially started
As of June 28, 2019 cherries that were subjected to either the 16 day waiting time or fumigation started to be exported to China. For this occasion, a formal ceremony has been organized in Afyonkarahisar's Cay district. Besides local representatives and ministry officials, Chinese Ambassador Deng Li also participated in the ceremony.
Ambassador Deng: "China will be an important consumer of Turkish cherries"
Chinese Ambassador Deng Li took the occasion to thank all parties who contributed in the exports from Turkey to China. Deng said: "Even though, cherry seems like a small fruit, its export has a direct impact on producers. I believe that China will become Turkey's most important cherry consumer. This important step that we have taken in cherries will also reflect on other areas. Trade relations between China and Turkey will have an impact on trade relations in general and the development of bilateral relations. Just like Afyon cherries, Afyon marble will also be popular in the Chinese market. Afyon has become the model of Turkish cherries in China."
"It is a great pleasure to export agricultural products"
Afyonkarahisar's deputy governor Umit Seref Kayacan said that the city was only known with its marble exports and that it is a great pleasure to increase exports in agricultural products. Kayacan continued: "We see the brand 'Made in China" in our everyday lives in the malls; from the smallest item to the electronics. I hope that this situation will change in our favor. Turkey will develop its trade relations with the world and take the brand "Made in Turkey" to the highest level."