Following a relatively slow start for early Turkish cherry producing regions due to hot temperatures, the campaign is set to hit its stride as larger volumes of Ziraat 0900 arrive

Turkish cherries got off to a slow start on the domestic market this season, despite harvesting commencing early, according to Kerim Taner, executive chairman at Perla Fruit.

“We started slowly for the domestic market this week with early cherry varieties,” he said. “The harvest started slightly earlier, but the yields are very limited in the early regions of Turkey because of hot temperatures and warm winds, burning the flowers and causing a lack of fruit set.”

Turkish cherries

Volumes are soon set to rise, although the total quantity is forecast to be below the average, according to Taner. 

“We expect better yields in the coming days and weeks with our Ziraat 0900 variety,” he said, “even if the overall crop is estimated to be less than normal. The weather forecast for the coming days is hot and sunny. Our prayers are for a dry harvest period which can give us a chance to utilise the crop on the trees.”

Germany was the biggest importer of Turkish cherries in 2023, at a value of US$95.5m, followed by Russia and Austria, according to Turkish news outlet Railly News.

“We are by far the world leader in cherry production with a yield of 725,000 tonnes and we are also among the top four countries in the world in exports,” said Hayrettin Uçak, head of the Aegean Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Exporters’ Association. “We aim to be among the top three countries in exports.”

Uçak said the next steps were to confirm phytosanitary certification agreements with countries in East Asia, above all China, while following Chile in its greater use of airfreight. The goal this season, he said, during a visit to cherry orchards in the Şehzadeler district of Manisa, was to reach 120,000 tonnes of cherry exports at a value of US$300m.