Turkish cherry producers renew varieties
Turkish agriculture has taken on a more export-oriented focus in recent times. Similarly, stone fruit producers have expanded their orchards and planted varieties that are suitable for export markets. Turkey is one of the world’s leading cherry (both sweet and sour varieties) producers and exporters. Total cherry production is forecast to increase to 865,000 tons in the 2019/20 season, of which 678,000 tons is sweet cherry, according to the Turkish Statistics Institute (TurkSTAT). Yields and quality are generally satisfactory this year. Weather conditions caused a delay to harvesting in most regions. Total cherry planting area is around 106,000 ha, similar to last year.
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 because it meets the characteristics demanded by export markets. However, producers have started to try new cherry varieties such as Sweet Heart, Celeste, Kordia, Regina and Sunburst for higher quality products, later harvest (to capture higher prices later in the season) and higher yields.