China has become an important and valuable market for hazelnut export from Turkey, which produces some 75 percent of the world's hazelnuts.
According to data from the Black Sea Hazelnut and Hazelnut Products Exporters' Association (KFMIB), the volume of export to China of the precious nut was over 87.1 million U.S. dollars in 2019 with 11.2 tons.
China was the sixth biggest export market for Turkish hazelnuts in 2019 after Italy, Germany, France, Poland and the Netherlands.
Ilyas Edip Sevinc, head of the association, told Xinhua that exports to China have reached record levels.
"We have a remarkable good cooperation with Chinese firms and it won't be a surprise if in the coming ten years, our exports to China reach at least 50 tons a year as there is a growing demand for Turkish hazelnuts," he said.
China has become an important opportunity for expansion of Turkey's hazelnut exports, thanks to the advertising and promotional activities in the country. The efforts have started to be reflected in export volumes, Sevinc noted.
"Hazelnuts have become one of the most consumed dried nuts in China," he said, adding that products made from hazelnut also become increasingly popular in the country, for example ice cream.
Turkish producers, backed by the state, have launched in the early 2000s a global promotional project dubbed Turkey's Hazelnut Promotion Group (FTG) which has been advertising their products in the Far East, especially in China.
The group's mission is to do advertising and promotion to boost domestic and foreign consumption. It participated in many international fairs, presenting the hazelnut as "the miracle of nature" with its rich dietary values.
East Asia's growing appetite for nuts, the high demand for chocolate and Turkey's proximity to the Middle East are all good news for Turkey's hazelnut producers located along the Black Sea strip of the country with 400,000 family-owned orchards.
Hazelnut constitutes nearly 20 percent of Turkey's entire agricultural produce with 4 million people directly or indirectly related to the nut industry.
"This year was very good for us. The weather was good and we are happy with the result that we obtained after working hard," said Esref, a producer from the northeastern province of Giresun.
This cultivator said that he hopes that his cooperation with Chinese firms will continue unabated in the future.