Alanar is one of the most quality-focussed growers, packager & exporters of premium cherries from Turkey. Last season, the firm exported about 4,700 tons of cherries and 2,000 tons of figs, making Tekfen Agri the number-one exporter of fresh figs from Turkey. “Our project is to export 7,500 tons of fresh cherries in 2021, with our new state-of-the-art packing facility which will be one of the largest in Europe,” said Yigit Gokyigit, marketing manager. Alanar is growing and now exports cherries, figs, apricots, plums, pomegranates and chestnuts. Its main cherry varieties are Napoleon and Ziraat, as well as Regina and Cordia.
Meanwhile, China is generating huge expectations since the new protocol made exporting cherry from Turkey to China possible last July. “We have experienced very high demand from China with our first shipments at the end of our season,” said Gokyigit, who also hopes for the early completion of the ongoing negotiations for a fig protocol between Turkey and China. As an affiliate of Tekfen Holding, Alanar is very confident of the Bursa Black Fig due to its superior eating qualities, large size and good storage capacity of about 20 days at 2ºC. Germany, the UK, the Far East, Canada and the large Turkish retail chains are the main customers of Alanar, which supplies the largest supermarkets in Germany, the UK, France and Hong Kong. Among the new markets for Alanar are India, China and South Korea.
Thanks to chartered planes, Chilean cherries are now reaching China every week. With weekly arrivals at Zhengzhou airport, in the capital of China’s central Henan Province, the fruits are then distributed to the cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and other second-tier cities in the country, according to Xinhuanet.com.
Chilean cherries used to take over 100 hours to arrive on regular passenger flights and connecting cargo planes, with travel time taking over 100 hours on a single trip. The high logistical costs led to high prices. The chartered flights have allowed transit time to be cut to just 30 hours.
Logistics efficiency was further improved with the service offered by the Zhengzhou terminal, where customs offers a quick access channel for fruit, allowing Chinese customers to acquire fresh Chilean cherries, said Huang Xianhua, deputy secretary general of the fruit division of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce for the Import and Export of Food Products, Native Products and Animal By-Products (CFNA).
“The company trialled with two chartered flights in 2014, and now the number of chartered flights has reached 140,” said Huang, who is also the general manager of Shanghai Oheng Import & Export Co. Ltd. Fushun Fruit SpA has been exporting Chilean cherries to China for three years. Alonso Xu, general manager of the company, said they expect to reach 1,000 tons this year as the company’s total export amount.
There has been a Free Trade Agreement in place between China and Chile since 2006, and its latest version allows Chilean cherries to enter the Chinese market with a 0% tariff.
Japan’s cherry production fell 5% in the 2018/19 campaign five to 18,100 tons, of which 16,200 tons was commercially distributed, according to FAS/Tokyo data. For the 2019/20 campaign, a further drop of 6% (to 17,000 tons) is predicted. The causes of this shrinkage are a slightly reduced acreage and the colder temperatures recorded during flowering in Yamagata prefecture, Japan’s main production area.
The US is the main supplier of imported fresh cherries to Japan. The smaller 2018/19 US crop led to higher prices and a cut in Japan’s fresh cherry imports of 37%. This year’s larger crop is expected to result in a 31% rise in imports to 4,300 tons. Japan’s cherry exports are negligible.
In contrast with other stone fruits, EU cherry production is expected to drop in 2019/20. According to FAS Post data, the output volume will be down 18% to 682,000 tons due to unfavourable weather conditions during flowering and ripening. Total EU cherry planted area is expected to remain stable at around 160,000 ha. The consequence of lower production is a likely drop in consumption of fresh cherries, with the total volume consumer expected to reach around 421,000 tons. Similarly, consumption of cherries for processing should plummet 20% to 293,000 tons as a result of a smaller crop in Poland, the EU’s largest cherry processor.
The EU is a net importer of cherries, with the main source being Turkey and imports are expected to increase in 2019/20 on the back of the smaller European crop.
For the first time, Chile’s shipments of cherries FOB are worth more than their exports of table grapes, showing a clear shift in the country’s priorities. Cherry exports reached US$1.3 billion in 2018-2019, compared to US$1,1 billion for table grape exports. In volume terms, grapes still have supremacy 652,000 tons of grapes compared with 180,000 tons of cherries in the same period.
Minister of Agriculture, Antonio Walker, said that cherries will soon become the most planted fruit species in the country and noted that the cherry benefits from having little competition in the Southern Hemisphere, unlike the grape, which now faces stiff competition from Peru. Around 90% of Chile’s cherry exports (US$1.2 billion) head to China, which means that Chile needs to work on diversifying its markets.
Australia’s cherry crop is expected to expand in 2019/20, with all exports expanding proportionately. The rise in production is due to the continued expansion of production area. The total crop is expected to reach 18,000 tons in 2019/20, up 7% from 2018/19. The significant expansion over the past three years is largely due to the opening of several key Asian markets. Cherry exports are set to reach a record 6,000 tons in MY 2019/20, up 20% from 2018/19. Half of all exports go to Hong Kong and China.
Tasmania is the largest cherry production area (25%). The season starts in October and ends in January. The drought in parts of Australia affected some growing areas, but Tasmania escaped unscathed.
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.
TAGS: cherry, Turkey
France has introduced an emergency measure to ban imports of cherries from other Member States or from third countries where phytopharmaceutical products containing the active substance dimethoate is used. France adopted similar measures in 2016, 2017 and 2018.
Reports by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) confirm the seriousness of French concerns regarding this substance, particularly in relation to problems with technical specifications, possible mutagenic effects, suspected endocrine-disrupting effects on the thyroid, the significant risk posed to mammals, bees and non-target arthropods, and the numerous risk assessment aspects that are yet to be finalised. The EFSA’s conclusions do not make it possible to identify a safe form of usage, and confirm that the consumption of fresh cherries from cherry trees treated with dimethoate is likely to pose a serious risk to human health.
In light of the foregoing, the French authorities asked the European Commission to take emergency measures to ban the use of dimethoate for cherry trees, and to suspend the placing on the European market of fresh cherries from cherry trees treated with dimethoate. However, as the European Commission has not taken such measures, France has decided to introduce the notified national emergency measure.
The trade wars between the US and major importers of its goods are affecting fruit exports. Mexico and China have raised tariffs on US apples to 20% and 50% respectively. These two trading partners together received about 30% of the $969 million of total US apple exports in 2017. Mexican imports of US apples reached $275 million in 2017, representing 28% of total US apple exports. Under NAFTA, US apples were previously not subject to import tariffs in Mexico. Meanwhile, China opened its market to US apples in 2015, and imported about $18 million of US apples in 2017 when the tariff rate was 10%. India was the third largest destination for US apple exports in 2017, accounting for $97 million, or 10% of total exports. The Indian Government is set to apply a 30% retaliatory tariff on imports of US apples on January 31, 2019.
As for cherries, China has imposed a retaliatory tariff of 40%, raising the total tariff rate to 50%. US cherry exports to China were worth $123 million in 2017 – up 68% from 2016 and accounting for 19% of total US cherry exports. Following China’s implementation of retaliatory tariffs, US cherry exports were worth 19% less in 2018 as China seeks alternative, cheaper sources.
Experts are suggesting that the Australia may prove the main beneficiary of the US-China trade war, particularly when it comes to sales of apples and cherries, with China imposing a 15% tariff on both of the fruit. Overall, China’s tariff hikes could affect up to 25% of US agriculture, from which Australia’s wine and nut producers may also stand to gain. In 2017, around 40% of Australia’s fruit exports went to China and Hong Kong, while goods arriving from Chile, New Zealand and South Africa are also very popular. However, as the cherry and apple harvest are still several few months away, the dispute may be over without really affecting US exports to China. If not, the damage to the US fruit industry, especially Washington’s apple and cherry growers, could be devastating, Indeed, last year, China became the top importer of cherries from the state.