The quality of peaches, nectarines, apricots and plums produced in Turkey has risen in recent years, according to Mustafa Arslan of MDA Agro, with only strong domestic demand restraining exports

This season, on account of the warm weather conditions, flowering in Turkish stonefruit orchards occurred early, according to Mustafa Arslan, owner of Turkish exporter MDA Agro.

“We hope to start with Flored peaches after 25 April,” he said. “We also hope to have a good start for early varieties of nectarine in the first week of May.”

Since the region experienced no adverse weather conditions during the flowering period, Arslan expects the quality to be high this season. 

“The apricot season continues in mid-May with the Mikado and Mogador coloured varieties, and then with Ninfa and Tirintina,” he continued. “Our season in Mersin and its surroundings lasts until the end of June. The plum season starts with Black Splendor varieties for export in early June and continues until mid-August.”


Last year, Turkey produced approximately 800,000 tonnes of apricots, over 1m tonnes of peach and nectarine varieties, and 350,000 tonnes of plums.

“In recent years, our farmers have achieved better quality and production standards by preventing excessive tonnage in production with dilution and similar practices, correct irrigation and spraying at the right time for better quality and more efficient production,” said Arslan. “By focusing on quality production in a very successful cooperation, farmers and exporters have enabled Turkish fruit to be successfully exported and appreciated by consumers in all markets in recent years.”

However, the popularity of apricots as a raw material for jams and such products, and with the growth of the frozen food sector in Turkey, the supply of apricots for export is actually decreasing. Meanwhile, according to Arslan, domestic consumption of peach and nectarine varieties has increased due to the rise in tourism and local tourism in the summer months, and prices tend to remain at a good level.

“Despite such a sizeable production, exports last year were impacted by an increase in demand in the domestic market and the growth of the frozen food sector,” Arslan said, “with apricots reaching around 88,000 tonnes, peaches and nectarines 238,000 tonnes and plums 35,000 tonnes. We expect the same volumes to be exported this season. If the markets are good and demand increases, it may be possible to increase Turkish peach and nectarine exports to 300,000 tonnes.”

MDA Agro’s main markets for stonefruit are Russia, the EU, the UK and Ukraine, as well as East Asia, which has been increasing for the company in recent years. “Demand in the Far East increases every year,” said Arslan, “and the market ranks number one among our targets.”