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“Aegean Region targeting $ 1B fresh fruit and vegs exportation”

A serious portion of Turkey’s fresh fruit and vegetable production is carried out in the Aegean Region. In terms of exports, this region leads Turkey as well. Mr Hayrettin Ucak, Chairman of Aegean Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Exporters’ Association said the region’s exports in 2018 climbed over $ 830 million. Ucak emphasizes that InterFresh Eurasia fair is such an event that is open to development and that the growth of this exhibition is very important for Turkey.

What would you say if we needed to evaluate our country’s fresh fruit and vegetable production and export capacity?

In 2018, total exports of our country in terms of fresh fruit and vegs amounted to $ 3.9 billion. In the first nine months of 2019, our country realized a figure of $ 2.5 billion in exports. 1.3 billion dollars of these exports are fresh fruits and vegetables and 1.2 billion dollars are fruit and vegetable products. I believe that our country’s fresh fruit and vegetable potential is well above these figures due to both the productivity of our arable lands and our seasonal advantage.

What is the place of Izmir and Aegean region within this frame?

When we look at the share of Aegean Region in these export figures, we see that the Aegean Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Exporters’ Association made 831 million dollars in year 2018. In the first eight months of 2019, our export performance was $ 517 million. In line with the potential of our region, our goal is to reach and exceed the export level of 1 billion dollars. Our product quality and our efforts to increase our market shares support this goal.

What kind of work do our exporters need to do in order to increase their market?

We are proceeding our efforts to increase the market share of our members through the activities we have carried out as the board of Aegean Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Exporters’ Association. For example, as a result of the great efforts of our Ministry of Trade and our Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, the barriers to our cherry exports to China have been lifted and we are now facing high demand from China. However, in order to maintain our strength and stability in these new markets, we started two new UR-GE projects within our association. UR-GE projects, as you know, are organized with the support of the Ministry of Trade and aims to make promotional and marketing activities to enhance the competitiveness of our companies and organize activities that provides training and consulting for the realization of goals in potential target markets. We, as Aegean Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Exporters’ Association, are starting two new projects in this context now for fresh grapes, cherries, peaches and processed food. I hope that these projects will be beneficial for our country’s exports. We also carry out the citrus harvest detection project, which provides an important predictive advantage to our citrus producers and exporters, in partnership with the Directorate of the Aegean Agricultural Research Institute. We’ve had positive returns from our work over the past three years on the amount of citrus produced in our region. We have announced this year’s project report to our members. Another international activity is to participate in international fairs and representing our members to promote the products of our region in the best way

With InterFresh, Turkey has achieved a domestic and national fresh fruit and vegetable fair. What would you say if you would like to emphasize the meaning and importance of the fair held for the second time in this respect?

Last year, we participated in the fair with both Aegean Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Exporters’ Association and our company. I’d say it’s a highly developed fair. Very important fruit fairs are held in Germany, Russia and Hong Kong. I think it is important and necessary that we host an international fresh fruit and vegetable fair which will make the name of our country that has fertile soil and where all kinds of fruits and vegetables are grown. As you know, fairs are very important events in terms of exporters, giving the opportunity to meet with buyers and to establish new connections. Being an important exporter in the field of fresh fruits and vegetables sector, Interfresh Antalya Fair, which is the only fair of the sector in our country, is very important for our country and our sector.

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