24-27 November 2021 | Anfaş Expo Center - Antalya / Turkey

We had an interview with Savaş Akcan,Turkey Seed Growers Association (TÜRKTOB) Chairman of the Board, on important issues regarding the sector.

We had an interview with the Chairman of the Board of TÜRKTOB, Savaş Akcan, where he conveyed important issues regarding the sector. TÜRKTOB  took its place with its members at Growtech, which will be held for the 20th time in Antalya on November 24-27. We wish you a pleasant reading on the interview about the effects of the pandemic on the seed sector and seed exports, among the agenda issues, in the mission and objectives of ECOSA, of which Savaş Akcan is also the President.

Savaş Akcan 
Chairman of the board of TÜRKTOB
Chairman of the board of ECOSA

Could you give us some information about the structure of Turkey Seed Growers Association (TÜRKTOB)?

Turkey Seed Growers Association (TÜRKTOB) is an occupational association which qualifies as a public institution having legal personality and established under the Seed Growing Law, no 5533, entering into force upon being enacted in Grand Turkish National Assembly (TBMM) in December of 2006 and prepared by the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock called as such in that period. 

Its establishment purpose is to facilitate occupational activities by ensuring solidarity between the real or legal persons displaying activity in the industry through the development of seed growing industry, to ensure that the economic and social rights of those engaged in seed growing activity are protected and to fulfill the duties set forth in the legislation. 

Under the umbrella of TÜRKTOB take place 7 associations including the Plant Breeders Sub-Union (BİSAB), Sapling Producers Sub-Union (FÜAB), Seedling Producers Sub-Union (FİDEBİRLİK),
Ornamental Plants Producers Sub-Union (SÜSBİR), Seed Distributors Sub-Union (TODAB), Seed Manufacturers and Producers Sub-Union (TSÜAB), Seed Growers Sub-Union (TYAB). Our total number of members has reached 60 thousand.

On the other hand, what is the mission of ECOSA which you are President of and which countries are member to the Association?
Economic Cooperation Countries Seed Association (ECOSA) is a non-political and non-profit civil organization which was established in year 2009 for the purpose of developing seed trade among its member countries (Turkey, Pakistan, Iran, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan) in accordance with the Turkish Republic Law, no 3335, on Establishment of International Organizations. ECOSA's mission is to strengthen and develop the seed industry within the member countries. 

     In alignment with the mission, the objectives of ECOSA are to:
• Facilitate seeding activities,
    • Activate and represent the seed industry at national, regional and international levels,
    • Inform its members,
    • Uphold the interests of the seed industry and reinforce its prestige on behalf of its members,
    • To create an environment for cooperation and information exchange between national seed unions/associations and seed companies.

What should be done to increase seed exports? 
While the Turkish seed industry meets our domestic market needs on the one hand, it also strives to reach the foreign market and take an effective place in the global seed market. Through the research and development studies, the industry makes an intense effort for foreign trade of seeds and multiplication materials and technological products of branded new varieties with high added value. 

Nevertheless, for provision of final benefit expected from increasing of our export, it is needed that the related Ministries (T.R. Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, T.R. Ministry of Treasury and Finance and T.R. Ministry of Trade) ensure compliance with the required commerce, customs and phytosanitary agreements and legislations on official procedures in foreign countries and that the technical obstacles are removed. 

Ensuring that the risk analysis reports prepared by T.R. Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and dispatched to various countries are monitored and concluded within a short period of time will put Turkey in the list of countries which can export seed in the relevant countries and this is an indispensable effort for initiation of export. The initiation of foreign trade in seeds depends on the registration of relevant variety in the country which it will be exported to. It becomes more significant that the varieties registered in Turkey and have export potential are subjected to lesser procedures for registration in the other countries and are financially supported.

Turkey's seed industry studies revealed positive results in terms of recognition and trust environment across the world. However, these steps should be monitored on a continuous basis in cooperation with the Ministry and the private sector. This can only be accomplished through agriculture and trade consultancies and the sector channel. Export support should be given to the seed sector, technical barriers before free trade agreements should be removed, trade should be facilitated and export-increasing articles should be included in agreements.

Projects and techniques should be developed to reduce storage losses of products.

Have there been any positive developments in the seed sector during the pandemic period?   Could there be an opportunity for Turkish agriculture? 

As soon as the pandemic period started, we took the necessary measures to ensure that all the works in the seed growing sector are carried out in the fastest way possible by operating the necessary cooperation and information sharing processes with all relevant institutions, especially the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and the Ministry of Internal Affairs. We have rendered our working order suitable for pandemic measures. There was no shortage in our production and breeding activities. In 2020, our crop production and seed production increased in quantity. The Turkish farmer and the seed industry did their duties. We do not think that reducing the burden of recently increasing input costs will create a problem in terms of self-sufficiency for 2021 and beyond. The increase in the supports for utilization in seed industry for the first time since 2015 also gave us morale. We do our best also to increase production support. 

 In addition, the importance our society attaches to agriculture and food has increased. This situation also raised the interest in seed and seed production, which are the basis and most strategic element of agriculture. We started to take place on the agenda especially in the media. This situation helped us to share the facts and problems of our sector with the society more with our solution suggestions.   

How does the Growtech Agriculture Fair, of which you have been a supporter for many years as an association, contribute to the sector and what are your expectations for this year?

We have a very close corporate cooperation with Growtech, one of the oldest agricultural fairs of our country. Every year, we take part in the fair with our corporate stand. We answer the questions of the exhibitors and visitors about the seed growing and seed sector. We organize training programs within the scope of the fair, and we support our farmers with our educational documents. The fair is an indispensable organization for our industry, especially with the intense participation of companies offering a wide range of products. It is also very important for our sector to have a separate hall for Seed and Technologies. The fact that everything our producers are looking for in the field of seeds, seedlings, saplings and technologies exist together, regular visits of procurement committees from abroad and of course the increasing number of domestic visitors every year increase the importance of Growtech Fair.  

Within the scope of the fair, we have the opportunity to meet one-on-one with purchasing delegations from abroad. In the last 4 years, the seed export of our country has increased by 37 million dollars, and the seed export from Antalya has increased by 3.5 million dollars. The contribution of Growtech Fair to this increase cannot be denied. Choosing the procurement committees from among our target markets in seed foreign trade is a special advantage for us.

We are planning to participate in Growtech Fair with many more events in the coming years. We will organize training, promotion and commercial organizations with different contents for both producers and overseas purchasing committees, especially regarding seed, seedling and nursery.  

Also, can you give information about the Plant Breeding Project Market (BIPP) which will be held for the 4th time this year?

Together with Akdeniz University Technology Transfer Office and other institutions, we are conducting a very important study on plant breeding, one of the most important issues in the seed industry. Our organization named Plant Breeding Project Market is organized with the aim of bringing together representatives of industrial organizations, university faculty members, R&D Centers and technopark researchers who want to make R&D projects, to present joint project proposals and to develop breeding activities.  We are planning to develop our Plant Breeding Project Market event during the fair.

We would like to thank Mr. Savaş for his information. We are waiting to meet with TURKTOB members and all our sector stakeholders in Antalya on November 24-27.

Subscribe our newsletter to follow the latest news of the sector and the featured interviews