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RECEP KONUK

President, Pankobirlik

Through progress made in recent years, Turkey has taken seventh place among agricultural economies in the world. Accordingly, Turkey is a country that is rapidly expanding the exportation of agricultural and processed food products. This development trend is a beginning for Turkey, and the country has the potential to produce more processed food products and increase its ranking. Turkey has a highly favorable climate and geographic position, hosting approximately 3,900 of the world’s 12,000 cultivated species. With respect to its features, Turkey has the potential to contribute significantly to the food security of the world. There have been critical investments in infrastructure aimed at increasing agricultural production. Turkey has focused on completing irrigation projects, designing incentives that encourage planned growth through a basin-based production model, and drafting supportive policies that develop the food industry. We have implemented regulatory infrastructure that includes a product tracking system for agricultural products and ensures that all exports are produced according to EU and worldwide standards. There have also been critical advancements in the farmer registration system, which monitors statutory arrangements in terms of R&D. Turkey aims to produce food brands that are known globally and provide a feeling of trust to consumers worldwide.

DURSUN OĞUZ GÜRSOY

President, Hazelnut Promotion Group

In addition to advertising and promotional activities conducted by the Hazelnut Promotion Group, we also place a lot of emphasis on R&D. For the past 10 years, the Hazelnut Promotion Group has carried out many projects such as preventing aflatoxin formation in hazelnuts and determining their shelf life, nutritious value, and benefits for human health. In order to understand at which stage aflatoxin formation occurs, the Hazelnut Promotion Group conducted a project with TÜBİTAK titled “Determination of Factors Affecting Aflatoxin Formation and Preventive Measures in Hazelnuts.“ The three-year study revealed that aflatoxin formation mainly occurred after harvesting, during the drying and warehousing stages. Moreover, we discovered that storing hazelnuts in polyethylene bags under humid conditions also contributed to aflatoxin formation. This study demonstrated the importance of training farmers and traders in order to minimize aflatoxin problems in hazelnut exports. During the project, training programs were organized, and growers, traders, and exporters were educated with the cooperation of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs. Turkey exports hazelnuts and related products to 103 countries worldwide. Approximately 76% of hazelnut exports are shipped to EU countries; the leading importers are Germany (23%) and Italy (19%).

ALİ KAVAK

Chairman, ALİ KAVAK

With traditionally high demand for its quality products and also its competitiveness in the international market, our country is one of the leaders in fruit and vegetable production. In recent years, Turkey has made great strides in both its technological infrastructure and also in terms of environmental and safety standards. With the spread of new technologies, production capacity has expanded greatly. This has meant that Turkey has become even more prominent in the international marketplace. Our fruit and vegetable exports grew by 7% in 2011, reaching $2.3 billion, while citrus fruit exports grew 27% to reach $1.1 billion. Turkey achieved record annual exports totaling $134.6 billion in 2011. Our fruit and vegetable exporters and producers have contributed to this growth, mainly by expanding into new markets. Logistics is very important in our sector, as for all sectors. The cold chain is crucial, especially when exporting over long distances. It’s also very important to provide rapid delivery to nearby markets so as to maintain our market share. Logistics is key to delivering goods to markets at the optimum level of freshness and quality. At a time when the international markets are more competitive than ever, it’s not just important to maintain your share in existing markets, but also to seek alternative markets to expand into. The recent economic crises have highlighted the importance of market diversification, and we too have been following this approach.

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