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Lliyana Karaulanova - Diva Agro

"We grow many different varieties of cherries to extend our season"

The Bulgarian cherry season generally runs from 7-8th of May until mid-July, but this varies depending on the region.

Diva Agro is situated in central Bulgaria, 25 km from Stara Zagora. The company had their first cherry crop in 2016 and now grow on 40 hectares, the season runs from May until the first week in July.

"We grow many different varieties of cherries, which are harvested consecutively to extend our season," explains Lliyana Karaulanova from Diva Agro. "We start the early varieties at the beginning of May if the weather has been warm, these early varieties are mainly sold on the domestic market as they are not firm enough for transit. We sell these to the retailers, Metro, Kaufman, Lidl and a few others.

"At the end of May/ beginning of June, we start to sell almost 80% of our production for export. The main destinations are Germany, The Netherlands, Latvia, Ukraine, Poland, Czech Republic, Romania, almost everywhere in Europe, the other 20% goes to the Bulgarian supermarkets."

"We have had a good growing season this year. Some people have had some problems with rain, but for us so far it has been going well. It has rained, but we hope this will help our cherries."

The cherry orchards are not covered, but the company does use hail canons to protect the orchards.

"Labour is sometimes challenging to source as there is a lot of other production at this time in Bulgaria, but we have been ok until now. Labour is difficult in most countries just now. We have a short season so it can be a challenge, we start contacting people a month before the season starts to make sure we have enough people.

Diva Agro's orchards are situated right beside the packhouse and within 30 minutes, the cherries are on the sorting line. Then they are put in the hydro cooler for one day and then loaded on the CA truck to be taken to the markets. "Some of our larger customers, the retailers prefer to have organised full trucks, we work with a couple of companies to provide deliveries every week."

"We are happy to continue to supply our European markets and would also like to supply other markets such as the Middle East, but we don't yet have a shipping solution for this. We have made some deliveries to Dubai and South Africa in the past but it was just small quantities by air. We are happy to continue to supply our European customers."

For more information:
Lliyana Karaulanova
Diva Agro
Tel: +359 884 30 50 90
[email protected]