Turkey looks to Far East to expand export markets for stone fruit
Turkey’s peach and nectarine crop is forecast to grow 5% to 870,000 tons in the 2020/21 campaign, according to Turkish Statistics Institute (TurkSTAT). Exports are increasing due to the large production volumes and the strong demand from the Russian and EU markets. Turkey continues to be among the top ten exporters in the world for peaches and nectarines. Farmers in major growing areas are generally satisfied with the yields and quality of their crop thanks to favourable weather conditions during the blooming and harvest period. Most of the peach varieties planted in Turkey are Early Amber, Spring Crest, May Crest, Red Haven and Early Red.
Planting area for peach production in Turkey continues to increase due to new investments for the export market and juice industry in the last decade. The total estimated number of all peach and nectarine trees was about 21 million in 2019. The total number of bearing trees increased from 14 million in 2009 to 17.4 million in 2019.
Use of peaches/nectarines for processing is forecast at 130,000 tons in 2020/21, similar to 2019/20. Approximately 15% of all peach production is used for juice. Turkish consumers prefer fruit juices of peach, cherry and apricot in “nectar” form. Nectars are very popular, but there is also a growing trend for 100% fruit juices. Peaches are also used to make canned products, marmalades, and are sold as frozen fruit.
Turkey is one of the largest exporters of stone fruit in the world, exporting over 250,000 tons annually, with the majority going to EU countries and Russia. Turkish exporters are also looking for opportunities for stone fruits such as cherries in the Far East, particularly China in recent years. Turkey exported 884 tons of fresh stone fruit to China in 2019.