As shown in Figure 2, the largest exporters of cherries worldwide are Chile, USA, Turkey, Greece, Austria and Spain.
Lebanon is only a small exporter of fresh cherries and takes the 33rd position in the ranking of world exporters.
Lebanon is mainly in competition with the other supplying countries from the Mediterranean region namely Turkey, Greece and Spain.
Largest Cherries producers
By far, the largest producer and exporter of cherries globally is Chile, by a long way followed by USA, Turkey, Greece and Spain as shown in figure 2.
Chile exported 352,474 tons of cherries in 2020 mainly to the Far East, and to a lesser extent to Latin America, North America, Europe and Middle East.
The total export volume of Chilean cherries (HS 080929) in 2019 was much lower, 259,886 MT, and the main importers were China (91%), South Korea (1.8%), The US (1.7%), Taipei (1.0%), and Brazil (0.8%).
Chile was the world leader in cherry exports in 2019, being responsible for one third of total traded volume, followed by Hong Kong (22%), The US and Turkey (both 10%), and Spain (3.4%). Chile shall remain the world leader for cherry exports in season 2020/21 and Turkey will most likely surpass the US’s export volume since Turkey had a bumper crop and the US had a decrease in production due to the severe droughts.
Largest producers in the Mediterranean region
The three largest cherries producers in the Mediterranean region are Turkey (approximately 865,000 tonnes), Greece (approximately 91,000 tonnes) and Spain (approximately 107,000 tonnes). Lebanon for instance produces 25,000 tonnes of cherries.
As shown in Table 1 the supply season in Lebanon is between April and August. Lebanese cherries have strong domestic demand and have been exported for years to regional markets, where they still have growth potential. There is also an opportunity for high quality cherries in Europe, especially in the early season in May.
The top regional cherries importers UK, UAE, Spain and Russian Federation import the most between May and August as shown in Table 2.
Figure 2. Leading Exporters for Cherries 2020
Table 2 Overview of cherries harvest windows in the world’s leading production countries
Table 3 List of supplying markets for a product imported by the most potential European markets in 2020