International Agricultural Journalists Found the Chance to Visit Korkuteli, the Land of Fruit and the Capital of Mushroom, to Understand the Place of Origin of Turkish Agriculture.

On the last day of “European and Balkan Countries Agricultural Journalists Forum” hosted by Growtech 19th International Greenhouse, Agricultural Technologies and Livestock Equipment Fair in cooperation with International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) and Association of Agricultural Journalists and Writers (TAGYAD) and joined by 35 agricultural writers from 21 countries and the journalists found the chance to visit Korkuteli district of Antalya ,where fruit growing and mushroom cultivation is prominent, to understand the place of origin of Turkish agriculture. Visiting the facilities, greenhouses and orchards where the entire precision of modern agriculture is implemented, the journalists were fascinated by the nature and agricultural potential of Korkuteli.

Growtech 19th International Greenhouse, Agricultural Technologies and Livestock Equipment Fair to be held in Antalya on 27-30 November 2019 welcomed 35 agricultural journalists from 21 countries at the “European and Balkan Countries Agricultural Journalists Forum” organized in cooperation with International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) and Association of Agricultural Journalists and Writers (TAGYAD) in Antalya between November 4-8, 2019. Having found the opportunity to find out about all information they were curious about the agriculture of Antalya and Turkey in panels of important non-governmental organizations of the sector prior to Growtech, the journalists also found the chance to see and examine the information they learned on the field on the last day of the event.

The Capital City of Mushroom Cultivation and Fruit Growing: Korkuteli…

35 agricultural journalists from 21 countries visited Korkuteli, which is a district 60 km. away from Antalya, to see fruits and vegetables grown with state-of-art technology. In their visit to Korkuteli, which stands out among other Antalya districts with its specific characteristics despite its distance to sea, the member journalists of International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) were accompanied by District Governor of Korkuteli Ömer Çimşit and District Director of Agriculture and Forest Selda Sert. In Korkuteli with a total area of 4 million decares, 1 million decares of which is agricultural, the first stop of the journalists was orchards and production plant of Oragro Agricultural Company which is established on an agricultural area of 3500 decares and makes production with professionals specialized in cherry and cranberry growing.

Having made its name with the cherry export to China after European countries, Oragro Agriculture’s cranberry orchards, another specialization of the company, received great attention and admiration from the international agricultural journalists as well. Mehmet Çiçek, owner of Oragro Agriculture who sincerely answered all the questions of journalists about company’s export markets, production forms, types of sapling in fruit growing and their goals in the near future, provided the following important information about their special cherry growing orchards in an area of 1500 decares and company’s other production branches: “Our secret is our effort to achieve the quality products. Therefore, we are growing our own products in one farm to have full control and take our business to new markets. We have our own cherry processing and cold storage facility. That is, we collect the products from the orchard, package and load them directly on trucks to make the export. Today, as Oragro, we are exporting about 7000 tons annually to whole Europe, Middle East and Far East. Apart from this, despite being in lower tons for the first time this year, we exported cherry to 4 cities of China, but we are sure it will increase next year. It was a symbolic figure last year, but the point was to enter these markets, which we managed. We will also export cherry to Korea next year.”

Also informing the journalists of their cranberry growing, Şimşek added, “For the cranberry growing, we conducted R&D for 3 years, and we achieved production of 100 tons for the first time this year. We exported 70 tons of it; as our trees are very small at the moment, both our production and number of export countries will be increasing in years to come. We are performing studies for produces with potential export markets and added values. There is already no reason not to earn an income from the Turkish agriculture as much as from tourism when we spread the agriculture and production across the country.”

They Saw the Mushroom Cultivation from up Close...

The second stop of the international agricultural journalists in Korkuteli was SMS Ersanlar Agricultural Company which operates in an indoor area of 1500 square meters that has an annual mushroom cultivation capacity of 1250 tons. Engaged in mushroom cultivation since 1988 in Korkuteli named as the mushroom valley of Turkey, SMS Ersanlar Agriculture’s owner Mehmet Ali Ersan stated that they especially sell fresh and canned products to markets on the national scale and large pizza companies and told the journalists about mushroom cultivation, processing and packaging. Underlining that Korkuteli covers more than 50% of Turkey with an annual mushroom production of 28 thousand tons, Ersan says, “Korkuteli district covers almost the entire production in Antalya and more than half of the mushroom production in our country. Today, over one thousand people work in mushroom production, and indirectly, about 5000 people earn a living from this business. Therefore, our district is entitled to be named ‘capital of mushroom’. Living up to this title, we are the largest and pioneer enterprise of our industry with our own compost facilities.  All our products are subjected to computer check in the laboratory environment using the advance technology. We take our experience and our products through the marketing network on the national and international level to the consumer daily and make no compromise when it comes to 100% hygiene, quality and customer satisfaction in production.

Within the scope of the Korkuteli field trip, also visiting Korkuteli Production and Research Facilities of Yüksel Tohum, which exports seeds to all around the world as the largest domestic seed company of Turkey, and the greenhouses inside these facilities, the journalists received information from company’s production engineer Emre Güler about the facility located on an agricultural area of 900 decares, 250 of which is indoor. Stating that they are the most important seed grower of Turkey, which conducts rehabilitation studies on hybrid vegetables such as tomato, pepper, eggplant, cucumber, melon, zucchini and water melon, Güler says, “We produce the seeds developed as a result of our ongoing rehabilitation programs in the greenhouses of our facility, examine them and monitor their developments.  While 5 of our 6 greenhouses work in gourd family seed growing, we grow these seeds in one of our greenhouses. Therefore, this facility is of great importance for our company and even for the Turkish agriculture. The information and results we achieve in this facility show us the way of producing, exporting and marketing high quality, productive varieties that are resistant to diseases and have high adaptive skills.”

In the last stop of the trip, the journalists had the chance to examine Karyağdı Pear, which is another notable produce of the district’s agriculture, in its orchard. Karyağdı Pear is grown in the Korkuteli villages of Bayat, Tatköy, Esenyurt, İmrahor and Yazır and it is called Karyağdı (Snowed) Pear as it is ready in winter.

Following the Korkuteli trip, the member journalists of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) stated that the district is very advanced primarily in mushroom cultivation and in the growing of cherry, cranberry, apple, pear, that there are business way beyond their expectations, and that they will report these as news soon when they return to their countries.