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Preparations for Turkish cherry season underway

"We plan to expand our reach to China in 2024"

Although the cherry season is still a few months away, one exporter is already looking forward to new export opportunities in the Chinese market. Emirhan Şahinöz, head of export operations for Turkish cherry exporter Poleks, says they’ve recently invested in a new orchard to increase production as well:

“We've seen a dramatic increase in demand for Turkish cherries over the last three seasons. This surge reflects changing consumer preferences and a growing recognition of the quality and flavor of Turkish cherries. Although Europe, particularly Germany, has been the main destination for our cherries, we plan to expand our reach to China in 2024. We continue to invest further in our production as we've planted a new 50-hectare orchard in Manisa. Equipped with modern irrigation equipment and training systems, we want our new investment in Manisa to set a role model for the upcoming cherry orchards.”

The recent changes in the Turkish weather does force Poleks to invest in protection for the orchards as well, Şahinöz explains. “Just like the rest of the world, seasonal anomalies have been profoundly affecting the harvest season. We aim to protect our orchards through covers and nets, yet unexpected temperature changes have had a negative effect in western Turkey in 2023. Despite these challenges, we remain vigilant and adaptable, implementing strategies to mitigate risks and uphold the quality standards of our cherries.”

According to Şahinöz, the cherry industry is heavily connected with the ability to obtain and retain the right labor forces: “Apart from climate change, labor plays a vital role in the cherry industry. All of our activities, including the harvest, are highly sensitive so finding, training and retaining the talented labor is a major challenge. As such, the ability to consistently secure and nurture a proficient workforce constitutes a critical linchpin for the sustained success and competitiveness of the Turkish cherry industry on the global stage.”

For Poleks, they have a focus on the early cherry varieties and as such will be starting their harvest in May already. “Our cherries proudly represent a collection of early varieties, signalling the commencement of our harvest as early as the outset of May. This carefully curated selection ensures that we offer our customers freshest and vibrant cherries at the earliest opportunity, setting the stage for the season,” Şahinöz concludes.

For more information:
Emirhan Şahinöz