The Turkish plums are in season and one exporter has a special relationship with the Japanese varieties. Currently demand from Europe is rising, and although prices are slightly higher than last season, importers have no problem paying a higher than average market price for the Japanese plums.
Turkish fruit exporter Alanar has been increasing its production of Japanese plums for years on end now. According to Yigit Gokyigit, the Turkish climate is ideal for the cultivation of plums: “Turkey is a big plum-growing country. Various varieties of plums grow all around Turkey, mostly in the Mediterranean and Aegean regions of the country. We grow all our plums in our own orchards located in Salihli-Manisa in the Aegean zone. The Turkish climate and environment is perfect for this fruit. Volume is satisfying this year, as usual.”
Some of the plantations that will produce the Japanese plums aren’t even finished yet. Therefore Gokyigit expects the volumes to increase even more next year. “We expect to harvest 300 tons of Japanese plums this season. Our volumes are increasing because the plantations of our unique variety Japanese plums are still in process. This means we expect to harvest even higher volumes next year. This season the weather was extremely good for plums, and therefore the plums are in great shape.”
Although the Japanese plums are definitely more popular in the Asian markets, Alanar is determined to also improve its status in the European market. And demand is rising: “We export our plums all around the world. We export very special varieties of Japanese plums that only a limited number of companies grow. The majority of our plums are exported to India, Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia. In addition to those markets we also receive solid demand from Europe. Our Japanese Plum is very well known in Asian countries and we’ve been exporting it to that area in passing years. This year, we also see that the fruit is getting popular in European market too.”
One of Gokyigit’s tactics for getting his clients more familiar with the Japanese plums, is sending existing clients for other products a shipment of the plums so they can try them. “Alanar’s Japanese plums are sophisticated varieties with high brix level and bright color. It is the key for us to send at least a pallet to any new customer of our other products, because whoever tries this plum, realizes this is special and decide to make continuous orders. Currently the prices are competitive for plums in general. In fact, we have a huge demand for our Japanese plums. So much so, that I would say our customers are willing to offer higher prices than the market average.”
Alanar frequently visits trade fairs, but with the pandemic most of them have either been canceled or are taking place virtually. Gokyigit states their company has done what it can to maintain a close relationship with their clients despite the inability to meet face-to-face: “Fairs that Alanar attends all around the world have always been a good opportunity for us to come together with our current customers as well as to introduce our world-famous fruits to companies that we can potentially do business together. Alanar has been running a project called #KeepInTouch, that intends to bring us and our customers together via teleconferences. That really worked in, it helped us following up the new developments in the market and with the developments with the customer himself. We also attend online fairs in order to meet the business representatives in new markets.” He concludes.