Despite the cold winter in the South of Türkiye, the berry industry in Türkiye is growing at a rapid pace, says Turgut Aysan, Chairman of the Board at Turkish berry producer Safir Berry:
"There are new growers with orchards of more than 20 hectares who will continue to invest in the future of Turkish berry cultivation. The late frosts and hail in the South of Türkiye had some negative effects on the timing of the harvest as well as the yield. However, the production in tunnels was not affected, and Turkish growers started harvesting the berries by the end of January or the beginning of February. It looks like the harvest will continue until around mid-June. The northern parts of the country were not affected by the weather as much because of the late production, so harvest will start around May or June and should continue until mid-September."
Turkish berry traders will finally be able to focus more on the export markets, as the production will cover the demand on the local market, Aysan explains. "Although the local market is expanding, we believe this year the total supply will exceed local demand. Therefore, serious Turkish growers are focused on exports, especially to Middle Eastern, Far Eastern, and Russian markets. The export will mostly be carried out by air freight. There is also some demand from the major supermarket chains and wholesalers in Europe."
According to Aysan, the Turkish soft fruit industry is developing at such a pace that the country could become one of the largest suppliers in the near future. "There is a new optic sorting/packing line for blueberries in Antalya, where most planted areas are at the moment, to ensure the quality of the outgoing produce. More and more growers are investing in new genetics, and there is interest in larger investments from the world's leading soft fruit marketing companies and breeding programs."
"Blueberry production is the locomotive of the soft fruit business. However, more and more growers are looking to diversify production by adding raspberries and blackberries into the mix. Emco Cal blackberry varieties and many patented raspberry varieties were introduced to Turkish growers this year. In short, Türkiye is on its way to becoming one of the biggest soft fruit suppliers in Europe," Aysan concludes.
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