Although the new cherry season is quite a few months away, it’s never too early to start the preparations. With some upgrades to the technical aspect of packaging and sorting, as well as having the Research and Development department looking for ways to minimize the use of chemical substances and plastic.
Belit Balci is the deputy managing director for Turkish fruit exporter Alara, and he feels the 2020 season will be a very special one for his company. “We’re currently updating our current machines to the Cherry Vision 3 by Unitec. Alara has been the first company to use electronic sorters in the Turkish cherry industry. Having the advantage of experiencing the Unitec Cherry Vision 1 and 2 for the past seven years, we’re confident that the new update to 3 will solidify our position in the cherry market. This is also expected of Alara by its customers, so that both our clients and the end user can enjoy the best quality cherries that we can offer.”
Investing in new technology isn’t something Alara is scared of doing, says Balci, as they’ve been investing in their dedicated cherry and fig packhouses since 2000. “Alara HR infrastructure is aware of the benefits that using these machines for customer satisfaction bring. However we also know that a machine by itself will not make a difference if there is no understanding on how to use it. Training our employees is something we value greatly. Currently we’re running with a capacity of 400 tons of cherries per day using 40 lines. It makes us one of the two exporters in Turkey with the highest processing capacity.”
For the past decade, Alara’s Research and Development department has been working on offering possibilities to customers for sustainable business. “The output of these studies will be introduced in the 2020 season and includes variety development with global breeders, minimizing chemical use during cultivation, minimizing plastic use in our packaging and finally minimizing climate risks. Food safety risk management is another point Alara puts a lot of effort in to provide the top quality produce to our customers.” Balci concludes.