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Cherry production forecast in Turkey in MY 2020/21 is 918,000 MT

25.08.2020 12:35 "Agro Perspectiva" (Kyiv) Following are selected highlights from a report issued by a U. S. Department of Agriculture attache in The Ankara (Turkey), the total cherry production forecast in Turkey in Marketing Year (MY) 2020/21 is 918,000 metric tons (MT), which is 72,000 MT more than MY 2019/20. The peach and nectarine production forecast for MY 2020/21 is 870,000 MT, 40,000 MT more than MY 2019/20. Stone fruit exports are increasing due to abundant production and strong demand from the Russian and EU markets. Turkey aims to improve its exports of fresh sweet cherries to China. This report covers cherries, peaches, and nectarines.

PRODUCTION

Sweet and Sour Cherries

Turkey has historically been among the top cherry producing countries in the world and is usually a top four exporter. Sweet cherries are grown mainly in the Central Anatolia, Aegean, Marmara, and Mediterranean Regions in Turkey. Konya, Izmir, Manisa and Denizli are the top cherry-producing provinces within these regions. The marketing year for cherries begins in April.

According to the Turkish Statistics Institute (TurkSTAT) for the MY 2020/21 season, total sweet and sour cherry production are forecast to increase to 918,000 MT, of which 732,000 MT are sweet cherries and 186,000 MT are sour cherries. Farmers in major growing areas are generally satisfied with the quality and yield in MY 2020/21 compared to the previous year, although some farmers suffered hail damage in some regions of Bursa and Kutahya provinces.

While the cherry harvest starts on the Aegean coast in Izmir in late May, it continues further inland in Afyon, Burdur, Salihli and Konya in June and July. Farmers harvest the cherries in Kahramanmaras in August. Cherry trees are cultivated in different parts of Turkey with a variety of different physical and climatic conditions. Because of this, the harvest time can differ by 45–55 days according to the region of planting.

Strong export demand in recent years is the driving force of cherry production. Turkey has been slowly changing from traditional to modern cherry production. Recently, modern high-density orchards have been established, using new cultivars, rootstocks, training systems, and growing techniques. However, most cherry production is still carried out using predominantly traditional methods among the agricultural holdings operated by family-owned farmers. A relatively cheap labor force with seasonal workers and family-owned farms provides the advantage of a stable, affordable labor supply.

Enjoying increasing demand, Turkish farmers have invested in new orchards, uprooted non-commercial varieties, and replanted with trees suitable for export markets in recent years. There are also new private sector entities with investments in juice production and fruit exports.

MY 2020/21 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. Farmers have been replacing their older varieties of sweet and sour cherry trees with higher yield varieties. According to Turkish official data, 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 although the total production remained almost the same. 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.

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