While some greenhouse growers in the village of Gumusdere in Sariyer provide their families with natural agriculture with the support of the state on the seedlings they obtain from local seeds, they offer natural products to the residents of Istanbul, from producer to consumer, without intermediaries.
This year, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry launched 9 crop production projects for farmers in Istanbul, within the scope of the “Project for Enabling the Use of Agricultural Lands” within the scope of the “Increasing Agricultural Production Project”.
Within the scope of the “Project to Disseminate and Improve the Use of Domestic and National Vegetable Seeds by Women’s Hands”, which is among the projects put into practice, local and national seeds met with the soil by the women farmers engaged in greenhouse agriculture (greenhouse cultivation).
Within the scope of the project, 37,840 seedlings produced from local seeds, including 8,160 cucumbers, 7,280 tomatoes and 22,400 pepper seedlings, were distributed to female farmers in Sariyer and brought to the soil.
Approximately 56 million support was provided to the farmers of Istanbul in plant production
Istanbul Provincial Director of Agriculture and Forestry Ahmet Yavuz Karaca told Anadolu Agency (AA) that Istanbul has an important place in agriculture and animal husbandry as well as being the capital of history, culture and industry.
Karaca stated that there is approximately 89 thousand hectares of agricultural land in Istanbul, and greenhouse cultivation and greenhouse cultivation are carried out on an area of approximately 1791 decares.
Stating that Gumusdere village in Sariyer district is one of the important greenhouse cultivation points, Karaca said, “Apart from that, we do intensive greenhouse cultivation in Sile, Catalca, Silivri, Beykoz and Pendik. As the provincial and district directorates of agriculture, we are always in the field. Our inspections start from the seed and we inspect all points up to the product.”
Karaca stated that they provided approximately ₺56 million of support to the farmers of Istanbul in plant production, “Our only plant production support in 2020 is ₺56 million. We distributed 320 thousand seedlings such as cucumber, tomato, pepper and eggplant free of charge in Istanbul. These seedlings have one feature. Obtained from local and national seeds. We distributed our seedlings, which were produced from ancestral seeds and produced from our domestic and national seeds, whose varieties were determined by our General Directorate of Agricultural Research and Policy.”
Yield average of Istanbul farmer is higher than the average yield in Turkey
Stating that 190 producers are engaged in greenhouse cultivation in Sariyer, Karaca said that there are approximately 4 thousand farmers registered in the Farmer Registration System in Istanbul, but normally around 20 thousand citizens are engaged in farming.
Emphasizing that the biggest loss occurred during the transportation of the products, Karaca said:
“The loss rate in vegetable and fruit production reaches very serious figures. It is said that it reaches up to 25% in some places, the statistics show this. You produced it in Sariyer, you went to the market immediately, the economic loss is decreasing. At this point, it is obvious that it has a serious economic contribution. The lands of Istanbul are very fertile. I can say that the average yield of Istanbul farmers is almost 1.5 times the average yield in Turkey.”
“If we all quit agriculture, life will progress in a different way”
Aksu Cug, who works as a greenhouse farmer in Gumusdere village of Sariyer district, stated that he has been doing old-fashioned and greenhouse agriculture for 15 years with the seeds his father transferred, and said, “The country has a certain foundation. If we all quit agriculture, life will progress in a different way. That’s why we need to embrace agriculture, let’s encourage everyone. Whoever has land, let’s encourage those who are willing to do this and let’s not give up our agriculture.”
Stating that they produce in four seasons and that each season has a different fruit and vegetable, Cug continued his words as follows:
“We started threshing here in April, I had winter vegetables, chard, parsley. We gathered them. It takes a lot of time to thresh the soil. Because I do old-fashioned farming, it was plowed 4-5 times. We plowed both with horses and with the help of a small tractor. Then we fertilized it with animal manure, and the plowing phase took place again. I don’t have a drip system, I’m not a big tech person.”
Cug stated that the state gave great support to the farmers and said, “Seedling aid and fertilizer aid are provided, and I have started to benefit. These are financial support. They prevent you from buying seedlings from outside, enable you to produce more, encourage different people, and enable natural agriculture to come to life again.”
Stating that he sells what he produces in front of his own greenhouse, Cug said, “Because I do not produce much, we cannot give it to the market. They come here, we sell from here. Those who know the taste of this place want cargo from me when they go out of the city, and I do cargo to them.”
Emphasizing that Gumusdere village is sufficient for certain regions in terms of agriculture, Cug said, “Previously, Zekeriyakoy, Bahcekoy, Kilyos, Uskumru were always engaged in farming, but with the advancement of technology, everyone left. They started to take on a different dimension. Gumusdere remained the only village that did agriculture here.”
“We have customers for fifteen years, we are like friends, we are close”
Sehnaz Ozkan, who is a farmer in Gumusdere, stated that she had cultivated in open field before and had been engaged in greenhouse cultivation for 15-20 years.
Explaining that she expanded her business with the support of the state, Ozkan said, “It has been many years, but I do not remember the year, grant support was given, repayment, interest-free loans. We built our greenhouses. Then small hand tractors, whirling, were bought with grants, for example, half and half. This is how we expanded our business, and we continue. Our state provided support for seedlings, cucumbers, peppers, cluster tomatoes, normal tomatoes.”
Stating that he received support from his neighbor when his own production was not enough for his customers, Ozkan said, “We have a village market in Zekeriyakoy. We grow it, we collect it one day in advance, we go and sell it there. We have customers for 15 years, we are like friends, we are close. There is no greengrocer in Gumusdere, there are other places. Other neighbors give it to grocery stores, but I only grow my own vegetables for my customers, sometimes it’s not enough.”
Source: AA / Translated by Irem Yildiz