Chinese develop taste for Turkish nuts, dried figs
İZMİR- Anatolia News Agency
Turkish dried figs and nuts have become a popular part of the Chinese pallet and are being sold in local Chinese supermarkets.Turkish agricultural exports to China have witnessed a substantial increase, according to the data provided by the Turkish Exporters Union (TİM). The most striking exports are Turkish nuts and dried figs.
In 2011, Turkey exported 1,970 tons of nuts worth $11.2 million to the Chinese market. Last year Turkey also exported 187 tons of dried figs to China. This year this number has already increased to 800 tons before the season is over. Exporters expect this number to hit 1,000 by the end of the season. Turkish olive oil exports to China have also witnessed a huge jump from 105 tons last season to 464 tons this season. Turkish apricots also saw huge demand from China.
Risky investment pays off
TİM Executive Board Member Eli Alharal said exports of dried figs to China increased from 20 tons to 1,000 tons in four years.
“Dried figs were not a well known product in China. We organized tastings at local markets and showed the Chinese how to eat the figs. This was a very risky investment for us, but the Chinese liked the figs more than we expected,” said Alharal. Turkish dried figs are now a common item in Chinese supermarkets and are also sold online. China has now become Turkey’s fifth largest market for dried figs, according to Alharal.
Turkish agricultural exporters are now preparing to introduce dried figs to the Indonesian, Japanese, Russian and Indian markets.
Meanwhile Customs and Trade Minister Hayati Yazıcı said yesterday at an exhibition at a wholesale market in Istanbul’s Bayrampaşa that Turkey exports a mere 5 percent of the total fruits and vegetables produced in a year, with the rest consumed in the domestic market. However, 25 percent of the amount supplied to the Turkish market is run to waste due to packaging and transportation deficiencies. The value of fruits and vegetables that run to waste is about 18 billion Turkish Liras, he said.