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SERKONDER (Greenhouse Construction and Equipment Manufacturers and Exporters Association) will participate in Growtech with all its members on 25–28 November 2020 at Anfaş Expo Center, Turkey and has been a supporter of Growtech for years. We have had an interview about the greenhouse industry agendas with Mr. Halil Kozan, Chairman of the Board of SERKONDER. You can enjoy our interview with significant notes about greenhouse construction, equipment, future plans, UR-GE (Promoting the Development of International Competitiveness) activities, and digitalization.
First of all, could you briefly tell about the operation, purpose, and members of SERKONDER?
SERKONDER is founded to bring together the greenhouse construction, equipment manufacturers, ensure solidarity and exchange of information, solve economic, legal, technological, manufactural, and export problems of its members, develop the greenhouse construction industry in Turkey, and find new markets. It has 52 members as of today. All members are companies that carry out greenhouse construction, equipment production, domestic market supply, and export.
As an industry, what do you foresee in the future?
The modern greenhouse is a production facility that is built via using today's technology based on the parameters suitable for environmental conditions, carrying out controlled production in every sense, and isolating the cultivated product from environmental factors. The pandemic process, in which we have lived and are still experiencing, has made farming particularly significant in a controlled environment. We observe that the interest in agriculture in the indoor area has increased significantly. As in all conditions, the greenhouse draws great attention today, as well. As an association, we direct the investors who reach us on a sectoral basis, to our members, who are made up of industry stakeholders and do their manufacturing locally. We believe that our industry will come out of the pandemic process with positive results in the medium and long term with the emergence of controlled agriculture. However, as an association, we anticipate that the projects will be rolled out with the normalization process.
Will there be any changes in your international marketing activities after this process? Do you predict that new marketing strategies will be created in your industry? Do you think there may be opportunities caught in new markets?
As SERKONDER, we can note that the countries think of making their products within their borders due to the conditions brought by the pandemic process. In this sense, countries initially try to determine and develop their production techniques. While most of the countries with significant areas in agricultural activities can establish and develop their greenhouse industry, the countries that do not have such capacity will need us more than usual. This means that new markets will be created for our industry. Our country has attached importance to technological investments in the greenhouse industry in the last 20 years and has assumed an effective mission in the stronger formation of new markets with the projects it undertakes.
Growtech 20th International Greenhouse, Agricultural Technology and Livestock Equipment Fair of which we are the supporter as SERKONDER and that is held in Antalya is very important for our industry. For many years, we have had the opportunity to meet face to face with the most important buyers from the world market and to make new collaborations in Growtech. It is not
cost-effective to visit such countries individually and it requires a lot of time, as well. While our SERKONDER members strengthen their ties with our existing markets by taking part in Growtech, they can easily access new markets.
Does your association have any activities for UR-GE (Promoting the Development of International Competitiveness) that are important for the development of international competition?
Our association has been carrying out UR-GE Projects since 2014. Thanks to needs analysis and consultancy activities, we have created new and alternative markets and enabled the Turkish greenhouse industry to export in such markets sustainably. Organizing international marketing activities in Kazakhstan, Iran, Uzbekistan, national and international greenhouse workshops, and Agricultural Execution councils, our association will continue its efforts to create alternative markets internationally and increase the competitiveness of our members in such markets.
Have your industry had government incentives, aids, and investments in your industry?
Our member companies benefit from state subsidies through working allowances and social
supports. The steps that are taken to avoid delays in customs, logistics, and production have enabled us to circumvent this process with the least possible loss for ongoing projects and construction sites.
The digitalization has picked up speed more than ever with this process. Do you foresee that more importance will be attached to research and development activities as an industry? What is the current state of the industry in terms of digitization? Do you think this process will result in the formation of innovative ideas?
Our member companies, which have built automated technological greenhouse facilities including remote control and monitoring options, can provide necessary interventions and collaborations in emergency projects even in this period. They continued to provide the necessary technical support services via connecting remotely to the greenhouses in their homes, offices in Russia, Uzbekistan, or different parts of the world. It is a source of pride for us to interfere with a remote connection to a greenhouse facility at a distance between continents and maintain the flow in the supply chain in a process when people cannot even leave their homes.
For hardware and on-site intervention, the connections established on local partners and solutions have once again revealed how valuable our members' experience is in this industry.
Our research and development activities have become more significant to ensure that the supply chain is not disrupted and eventually, people's product needs are not disturbed via using the existing infrastructure and capabilities in the new normal life and social flow.
Can you tell us about the activities that your association will do and target for the next period?
At the point where our country's greenhouse has reached, we aim of making it a greenhouse attraction center on a global scale. Therefore, our activities for the Greenhouse Academy continue. We will serve our industry for establishing standards in the greenhouse, testing and analyzing the products of companies, training of agricultural and technical personnel in this academy. By ensuring the continuity of International Competition Projects, alternative markets will be set in the medium and long term, and the necessary marketing activities and training seminars will be organized for these markets.
As every year, we will take part in the Growtech Agriculture Exhibition to be held in Antalya on 25-28 November with all our members as SERKONDER. Our industry is looking forward to the realization of new collaborations and projects in Growtech, in which all the components of the agricultural industry are included.
Finally, we would like to learn, if you have anything more to add.
First of all, we would like to thank Informa for the support it has provided to both our association and our industry. During Growtech, which is visited by people from many different parts of the world, our members have the opportunity to introduce new models and products, company profiles to visitors. To improve our country's success in the greenhouse industry, we will work on alternative models and techniques for alternative markets.
We thank Mr. Halil Kozan for all the information he shared. We hope to see SERKONDER members and all sector stakeholders in Antalya on 25-28 November.