Turkey expects an 8.5% rise in its cherry production in 2020/21 compared to the previous year, with the total volume estimated at 918,000 tons, according to the Turkish Statistics Institute (TurkSTAT). Of this total, 732,000 tons are sweet cherries and 186,000 tons are sour cherries. Turkey has recently established modern high-density orchards, using new cultivars, rootstocks, training systems, and growing techniques. Total cherry planting area is expected to remain at about 106,000 hectares, of which about 84,000 ha is for sweet cherries, similar to last year. The total estimated number of all cherry trees was about 34.3 million in 2019. The total number of bearing trees for sweet cherries increased from 14.7 million to 21.1 million in ten years. However, sour cherry production area has decreased during the same period from seven million in 2010 to six million in 2019. The increase in production of better-quality cherries to meet the specifications of export markets also helps to increase the quality of cherries for the domestic market.
There are more than one hundred varieties of sweet cherries produced in Turkey. The 0900 Ziraat variety, also known as a Turkish Napoleon, was developed in Turkey and is the most popular variety in the country because its higher quality can serve export markets. However, producers have started to try new cherry varieties such as Sweet Heart, Celeste, Early Lory, Kordia, Regina, Sam, and Sunburst for higher quality products, later harvest (to capture higher prices later in the season) and higher yields.
Turkey aims to improve its exports of fresh sweet cherries to China