The Aegean Region; The Mediterranean climate feature allows for the production of many agricultural products with its fertile soil, plenty of sunlight which provides the basis for the development of almost all kinds of fresh fruits and vegetables and their products. The most important factor in this development is; climate-soil conditions and the accessibility of the product.
In Aegean Region, which has a rich variety in terms of agricultural products, cherries, “sultaniye” type seedless grapes, figs, satsuma mandarins, chestnuts, pomegranates, tomatoes, peppers are mainly produced as fresh vegetables and fruit and a significant part of the obtained product is exported.
Apart from our climate, adaptability of climatic conditions and productivity of the soil, modern farming methods applied in the production and processing process add up to a fortunate region especially in terms of fruits, vegetables and products obtained. Some of the products produced in our region are freshly consumed and some are consumed as a sun-dried product due to the hot climate. In addition, the Aegean region has become a region where canned food production and exports have been made most intensively by enabling the important companies of the fruit and vegetable products sector to invest.
The Aegean Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Exporters Association was established in 1966 to collect fresh and processed fruit and vegetable exporters located in Aegean Region under a single roof. The main aims of the association are; to improve the image of the sector and to carry out activities aimed at increasing exports. Aegean Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Exporters’ Association aims to achieve sustainable increase in exports with more than 300 members and exports exceeding 700 million dollars in 170 countries.
Looking at the exports from the records of Aegean Exporters’ Unions in 2016, it is seen that fresh fruits and vegetables of 143 thousand tons and 160 million dollars in value were exported. Cherries, chestnuts, table grapes, pomegranates, tomatoes and satsuma mandarins are the most common products. For fruit and vegetable products, looking at the exports of the year 2016, the first exported tomatoes are 530 million $ in value according to the registration in the EIB register. However, frozen fruits and vegetables, pickles, tomato paste and fruit juices are also among the major export products.
The fruit and vegetable products sector has a separate importance for our Union. Fruit and vegetable products constitute 75% of exports made within the Aegean Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Exporters Union. The Turkish Fruit and Vegetable Products Sector has a privileged place in the agricultural sector especially in terms of production with almost zero raw material import in the production stage, exports of the main sector of the industry, and substantial employment. According to the product groups, it is observed that most exports are composed of canned fruit vegetables. Exports are high in other product groups such as canned fruits, fruit juices and tomato paste. These product groups account for 70% of total fruit and vegetable products exports. In 2016, 150 million $ worth of fruit and vegetable exports were made to the United States. Among the products exported are fruit juices, dried tomatoes, pickles and frozen vegetables and fruits. In the first 5 months of 2017, 63 million exports to the same country were made.
In the Fresh Fruits and Vegetables products sector, European Union countries and Russia come first among the 170 countries that we export to. In terms of fruit and vegetable products, the European Union countries and the U.S. are the most important markets. We are especially working to increase our exports to new markets such as China, India and South Korea. For this purpose, we launched the “Project for Increasing the Competitiveness of Fresh Cherry and Grape Products” within the scope of the notification on Supporting the Development of International Competitiveness No. 2010/8 and we organized a survey on cherry and grape products in Chile. It is very important to establish an air cargo fleet for exportation to these countries and to ensure the continuity of exports in these countries since exported products are fresh and can quickly decay. Consequently, it is very important to establish an agreement with THY, we have opened up the export of fresh fruits and vegetables at affordable prices and we see progress in air cargo exports to countries such as Malaysia, Hong Kong and Indonesia.
In addition to the URGE Project, Aegean Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Exporters’ Association organizes exhibitions to introduce exported products and to receive current import requests from abroad. In 2017, there was a participation in the fairs in Germany and Russia so far and it is expected that the participation in the fairs will continue in Israel, the United Arab Emirates and People’s Republic of China in the coming period.