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Events & Trainings

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Future Organic - Pathways to sustainable development of organic agriculture

EXPO Logo Antalya

After a five-year term, the cooperation project "German-Turkish Cooperation - Organic Agriculture", funded by the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) will be successfully completed at the end of 2016. This major accomplishment will be celebrated during the German-Turkish Organic Agriculture Day, which will take place on the 20th of October in cooperation with EXPO2016 Antalya at the exhibition’s congress center and the German EXPO Pavilion.

Workshop Summary

"Future Organic" will focus mainly on the question of prospects: How will organic agriculture progress? What is being discussed on German level and what is the Turkish movement aspiring to? Where does organic agriculture stand today and how should it develop? What kind of engagement from public authorities and the private sector is necessary? The symposium is thus also a key factor in reaching common goals in terms of quality, which in turn depend on an optimal interplay between producer, trade, control bodies and authorities or respectively the Ministry for Agriculture. 

Name of Event: Future Organic: Pathways to sustainable development of organic agriculture
Venue: EXPOO2016, Antalya, Turkey
Time & Date: October 20, 2016

Completed

Organic Turkey - Forum at BIOFACH 2016

BIOFACH Logo

In the context of BIOFACH 2016, a special forum, “Turkey Organic”, will be taking place on Thursday, February 11th at 10.00 a.m. – 12.00 p.m. in the Nizza Room (NCC Mitte) within the BIOFACH premises in Nuremberg. The forum will provide a space for experts and interested participants to share their experiences on effective solutions for minimizing contamination risks with pesticides in organic products. The event is being organized by the German-Turkish Cooperation – Organic Agriculture, which is implemented by FiBL and the Turkish Association on Organic Agriculture (ETO) and funded by the German Ministry of Food and Agriculture.

Agenda

Introductory presentation: Turkey on the organic map – main opportunities and key challenges

  • Speaker: Atila Ertem, Former president, Association of Organic Agriculture Organisation (ETO)

Presentation 1: Solving residue problems by investing in supply chain partnerships

  • Speaker: Dr. Norbert Kolb, Quality manager, Worlée NaturProdukte GmbH

Presentation 2: Lessons learned: Investing in capacity building for granting organic integrity

  • Speaker: Mustafa Akyüz, General manager, ETKO Turkey

Presentation 3: Serving the organic industry in Turkey – ETO’s organic input list

  • Speaker: Zafer Göynügür, Association of Organic Agriculture Organisation (ETO)

Panel discussion: Towards strategies that enhance quality sourcing

  • Moderator: Thomas Bernet, Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL)

Agenda for Download (532 KB)

Name of Event: Turkey Organic (Forum BIOFACH)
Venue: BIOFACH, Nuremberg, Room Nizza (NCC Middle)
Time & Date: February 11, 10 a.m. -12 p.m.

Get-together (BIOFACH 2016)

BIOFACH Logo

In the context of BIOFACH 2016, a Get-together is planned on Thursday, February 11th at 4-5 p.m. at the FiBL booth (1-549) within the BIOFACH premises in Nuremberg. The Get-together will provide an opportunity to share experiences and ideas with colleagues and partners in a relaxed atmosphere. There will be short welcoming words from ETO president and project representatives followed by food and drinks.

Name of Event: Get-together (BIOFACH)
Venue: FiBL booth (1-549)
Time & Date: February 11, 4-5 p.m.

Best-Practice Organic Farmer of 2015 announced

In the frame of the German-Turkish Cooperation - Organic Agriculture, organic farms have been invited to the annual national competition of best organic farmers in Turkey. Since 2012, the contest aims to encourage successful organic farmers to grow their knowledge and business in organic from various regions of Turkey. In addition, these farms might later on be embedded in organic research projects, providing access to practical trainings on farm and demonstrating excellent organic agriculture cultivation practice.

During the intensive preparation and evaluation process since June 2015, four jury meetings took place by the expert jury headed by Project’s national long-term expert, Mr. Atila Ertem and supported by Melek Gültekin, (sustainable/PR manager to the Bilateral Project), Azmi Akbaytürk, Prof. Dr. İbrahim Duman and Dr. Alev Kır.

During the first meeting, the jury members decided upon the basic procedures of the contest and slightly revised the concept by adding specific questions in regard to soil and fertility issues, keeping in mind that 2015 was announced as Year of Soils by the United Nations.

In August, the jury met again and carefully screened all 130 applications (of which 30 were complete and could be considered) and evaluated each against the defined MUST and COULD criteria producing a short list of final nominees. In the next step, third party information from CBs and MoFAL agricultural directorates was collected in order to get evidence and sufficient information on the farm candidates for final selection and ranking.

In September, the jury considered the investigation results and nominated 13 farms to be physically visited by the jury experts. Throughout the farm visits, the farmers were interviewed, and field conditions and performance regarding the fulfilment of best organic practices were checked.

On the 9th of October, jury members came together again to share their farm visit experiences, and evaluated the provided data against the situation found on the farms in practice. It was agreed that the final scoring was extremely hard as the jury experts gained an excellent impression about best-practice performance in organic farming from all visited candidates. Out of this thorough and professional un-biased evaluation procedure, five farms were selected as being the 2015 best-practice organic farmers and announced publically through the ETO network on 20th of October. Congratulations go to:

Ahmet Şerif İzgören- Demirci, Manisa
Alp Pir- Köyceğiz, Muğla
Gökçe Süner- Tire, İzmir
Hüseyin Solak- Karaisalı, Adana
Nazan Kurtan- Çatalca, İstanbul

Research and Market Hand in Hand: Strengthening the Competitiveness of organic seedless Sultanas

To provide a platform where researchers and the private sector get in contact for better harmonization of research activities based on real needs of farmers, a series of regional meetings have been organised. Succeeding the first three encouraging events in Aydin (figs), Giresun (hazelnuts) and Malatya (apricots), the fourth meeting was organised in Manisa focusing on sultana products.

The 2-days-workshop was held in July 2015 and organized by ETO and the German-Bilateral Project with support of TAGEM Ankara, TAGEM Viticulture Research Institute in Manisa and Provincial Agricultural Directorate in Manisa.

On the first day, researchers and representatives of universities and government bodies attended and the main topics presented were:

  • Overview of viticulture studies and their strategic approach to Turkish sultana.
  • Improving competence in the organic sultana sector.
  • Actual situation of organic farming in the province of Manisa.
  • Lack of traceability of organic sultana.
  • Organic seedless sultana studies conducted at Viticulture research institute.
  • Cultivation of organic seedless sultana and development of cultivation technologies of organic vine (asma) seedlings.
  • Insight of the project ‘Development and Dissemination of Organic Agriculture’
  • Organic viticulture related subject and its effects to country economy, ecosystem and biodiversity.

Special attention was given by Ms. Ayşen Alay Vural about the cooperation of Bilateral Project and TAGEM. She emphasized how useful and efficient workshops have been in bringing various stakeholders together through this cooperation.

On day two, representatives of the private sector joined and after Mr. Atila Ertem’s welcome note and presentation about the risk factors in organic farming and processing in Turkey, the TAGEM organic coordinator Dr. Aysen Alay Vural gave an overview about the research activities in sultana in Turkey and summarized the output of day one.

The rest of the day was spent with assessing the presented research activities and results into practise, a short visit to the fields of the Viticulture Research Institute and an interactive “world café” session in which all participants actively engaged in short discussion sessions about sultana production, post-harvest treatment and processing and marketing.

Name of Event: Research and Market Hand in Hand: Strengthening the competitiveness of seedless sultanas from Turkey
Venue:   Viticulture Research Institute in Manisa
Date:     21 – 22 July 2015

Workshop for organic Consultants

With organic eggs and chicken meat being currently the major driver of the national organic market in Turkey, ETO received several requests to provide for a technical training in this field. Within this context, an advanced level 2-days workshop was organized in September 2015 in Kula / Manisa. Due to the high interest but limited facilities, a maximum of 21 paying participants were accepted. These included for the first time, 3 junior CB staff members, with the aim of receiving qualification for inspection of the organic poultry sector.

On the first day, Dursun Övelek from Manisa Provincial Agriculture Directorate kicked of with an interesting presentation about the poultry sector worldwide and in Turkey and provided actual information on the national organic egg and poultry market. Then the two main poultry experts, Manfred Becker and Özgür Erdogdu, guided the audience through the various technical subjects focusing on the EU Regulation and on the specific requirements of the Turkish Organic Regulation. This system of rotating interactive expert presentations was continued on the second day, allowing participants to question, comment and share experiences. An integral part of the program was a visit to an organic poultry farm and egg packing station.

Among others, one of the major subjects during the training was animal welfare. This issue is most difficult to understand and define, as mainly “soft” factors need to be considered and in Turkey this is not seen as an issue right now. Moreover, this subject was new to many of the participants and very interesting discussions derived from it. The international expert Manfred Becker stressed the importance of the well-being of chicken for their laying performance, advising constantly to offer diversified food and different activities to the animals. At the end of the meeting, one participant summarized her impression as follows: “I did not know that animal need entertainment and this is the message I took: chicken are living creature and we cannot only consider pure production criteria but have also to provide for conditions to make animal feel well”.

Following the high interest of the Workshop, ETO is considering to repeat the same training early next year in another rural location.

Name of Event: ‘Grundlagenmodule’: Workshop for organic Consultants (Module C)
Venue:   Court yard of Anemon Hotel in Kula / Manisa
Date:     9 – 10 September 2015

Joined forces between scientists and the private sector for better quality

Based on the outcome of the meeting “Organic agriculture research in Turkey: How to join forces between scientists and the private sector for better quality” organized by the German-Turkish Bilateral Project in November 2013, it was decided to continue with regional platform meetings between researchers and the private sectors focussing on a specific crop. Following the initial two regional meetings in Aydin (figs) and Giresun (hazelnuts), a third meeting about the production of apricots was held in Malatya in June 2015.

The 2-days-event organised by the German-Bilateral Project with support of TAGEM Ankara, TAGEM Apricot Research Institute of Malatya, Inönü University and the Provincial Agricultural Directorate of Malatya was hosted at the Apricot Research Institute in Malatya. Since the interest amongst researchers and governmental staff (1st day), as well as private sector representatives (2nd day) was extremely high, participation had to be limited in order to allow workable group sizes.

During the first day the following topics were presented and lively discussed between researches and university- and governmental staff:

  • The actual market situation of Turkish apricots.
  • Apricot cultivars and important breeding issues, such as resistance against certain pests and diseases.
  • Introduction of the Apricot Research Institute and its research activities.
  • Present situation of organic farming in the province of Malatya.
  • The importance of following an organic lifestyle while doing organic agriculture.

On the second day, representatives of the private sector joined the meeting, and the day started with presentations of risk factors in organic farming and processing in Turkey, information about research activities in apricots, and a summary of the output of the previous day. This was then pursued by considering and analysing the research activities and results revealed so far in practise.

Esref Dogan, a leader farmer for organic apricots in Malatya, elaborated on limiting factors in apricot growing and on-farm processing in his region. According to him major problems faced by farmers are:

  • Monilia laxa has increased tremendously after the Karakaya Dam has been established and obviously changed the micro-climate.
  • Capnodis tenebrionis is one of the most important pests in cultivated stone fruit.
  • Costs for inputs are high in organic as only a very limited range of fertilizers and pesticides is available.     

Organic premium and government subsidies are not sufficient enough.
Productivity in organic apricots is not lower than in conventional systems, unless the farmer is applying the right organic methods.

After a short but interesting visit to the fields of the Research Institute, the afternoon session was conducted in the interactive form of a “world café”. All participants rotated through three “stations”, which provided for short discussion sessions about apricot production, post-harvest treatment and processing and marketing. The results were presented by the moderators and participants choose priority research issues by indicating the subjects. The successful workshop was finished with a performance evaluation by the participants.

Name of Event: Research and Market Hand in Hand: Strengthening the competitiveness of organic apricots from Turkey
Venue:   Apricot Research Institute in Malatya
Date:     10 – 11 June 2015

Proposal Writing and Fund identification Skills Workshop

In June 2015, a 2-days intensive skills training was held to give ETO  ‘grant seekers’ a hands-on proposal writing experience plus a deeper understanding of the funder’s process. The workshop was aimed to provide specialized, technical assistance and staff support to ETO in identifying funding opportunities as well as preparing and processing grant applications and project funding for local, national and EU grants.

The course content included topics like:

  • Identification of potential funding sources, grant schemes and other project tenders.
  • How to read tenders and calls for project proposals correctly and understand the major application requirements.
  • How to identify and formulate goals and objectives of potential project undertakings.
  • Identification of resources needed to meet goals and objectives, including staffing, supplies, and equipment: cost analysis and budgeting.
  • Preparation of project descriptions.
  • Correct formatting and submission of project proposals to the tendering agency.

During the workshop, the national expert Ms. Ümit Evren shared her practical experience on grant sources, application preparation, monitoring and evaluation methods, and re-application processes which certainly will assist all participants with their future project fundraising activities.

Name of Event: How to write project proposals and accessing national and international project funds
Venue:   Izmir
Date:     28 - 29 May 2015

Organic Animal Husbandry: key success factors of best-practice to secure long-term profitability

With the interest in organic animal husbandry increasing in Turkey and related education not available, ETO Ankara Branch took the initiative to pilot a specialized training on this topic in close cooperation with Turkish organic dairy pioneer ‘Elta Dairy Food Company’.

In May 2015, a diverse and professional team of various researchers, organic farmers, Provincial Directorates from Gökçeada and Kırklareli, MoFAL trainers, a film producer and representatives of the private sector came together on the island of Gökçeada, where Elta Dairy Business kindly opened its doors to welcome the trainees. Main targets of the training were to show the participating farmers how to reach economic scale for cow and sheep farms and to make their business feasible and profitable notwithstanding regulations or animal wealth sustainability.

The in-depth and hands-on course concentrated on the organic animal husbandry farms’ needs, start-up road map, practical and ethical solutions of the most faced problems, critical control points whereas strong focus was given on quality requirements for organic produce in the market channels. Inspiring tutors and appealing presentations generated a dynamic and high-energy workshop. Major subjects of the 2-days training were:

  • Importance of species and breeds of cow, sheep and goats
  • Animal welfare at farms and during transportation
  • Strategies and principles of preparation of animal feeds
  • Fodder (yem) types and percentages for various growing stages of animals               
  • Crucial points of herd management: record/registration system, feed management, milking shed management, foot health, body condition scoring, faeces observations, animal movement, grouping strategies and prenatal care procedures
  • Organic livestock regulation in Turkey and critical control points
  • Contagious diseases, vaccination and anti-parasitic fight
  • Homeopathy as an alternative treatment for farm animals

At the end of the interactive training, all participants enhanced their knowhow in all aspects on organic animal husbandry farms and they felt better prepared to improve management of their farms. Especially the last session presented by veterinary Yasemin Atatus, an introduction to homeopathic treatments of animals, was very exciting. Organic producers immediately reacted and required an additional course related to homeopathic drugs and treatments of farm animals in the future. The attendance certificate was well deserved!

Name of Event: Key Success Factors for Organic Animal Husbandry
Venue:  Elta Dairy Food Company’  7 Gökçeada, Çanakkale
Date:    16 - 17 May 2015

Promising opportunities for young professionals in the organic sector

The remarkable outcome of the first career meeting workshop organized by the German-Turkish Bilateral Cooperation Project at the IFOAM Organic World Congress 2014, showcased the positive potentials for young graduates in the organic sector in Turkey. Consequently the idea was picked up and transformed into a tailor-made concept and the first Organic Career Meeting addressing university students was organized on April 14th 2015 in Izmir.
In collaboration with the EGE University in Izmir – Agricultural and Food Technology Faculties – a half-day workshop was conducted to inform students about job and training opportunities in the organic sector, to promote ETO activities and the CVyolla job platform as well as to collect Curriculum Vitae’s of potential applicants. Simultaneously, students were given the exciting and useful opportunity to have speed dating sessions in the form of short interviews with more than 10 companies out of the organic sector.
Over 100 students attended the career meeting and followed the presentations with great interest. They received detailed information about the organic movement and tips of how to further explore the sector and its job and education possibilities. An absolute highlight was the on-stage discussion with the 3 organic pioneers Mr. Mehmet Ali Işık (owner of Işık Tarım, Izmir), Mr. Yavuz Biçkes (owner Müsan Gıda and head of ETO Kahramanmaraş branch) and Ms. Gökce Sunder (Sunder Organik, Tire) who shared their personal success stories of their own companies with the audience.
Based on the success of this organic career meeting in Izmir, it is planned to conduct similar events in collaboration with other universities in Malatya, Sanliurfa, Canakkale and Ankara.

Name of Event: Organic Career Meeting
Venue: İzmir
Date: 14 April 2015

Supporting sustainability actions of ETO branches

For the very first time in ETO history, representatives of all 9 ETO branches came together in April 2015 for a workshop organized by the German-Turkish Bilateral Cooperation to support sustainability activities for ETO branches.
Sustainability - in all its aspects - is key for ETO to form effective alliances for political and social advocacy of organic agriculture in Turkey. Hence, a 3-days training took place at the ETO headquarter in Izmir to assist ETO managers to achieve better visibility among major regional stakeholders, to attract members and to successfully organize events.
This interactive course comprised practical sessions where the participants were shown and encouraged of how to successfully and passionately develop and implement effective strategies and actions in their own region. Special input has been given by ETO President Atila Ertem who explained how to follow the sustainability road map presented namely by performing local actions, such as organizing farmers’ markets, organic career meetings, cooperation with CVyolla.com and enhancing networking.
The lectures were contemplated by intensive discussions and group work of how to design individual events and roadmaps for ETO branches. The outcome of the working groups were presented and evaluated by the expert team-members Atila Ertem and Zafer Göynügür.
During the event, all participants joined the fascinating ‘Organic Career Meeting’ organized by ETO in collaboration with EGE University Izmir as best-practice example. In addition, each attendant had the great opportunity to visit EKOLOJI Fair in Izmir and to follow the Turkish Symposium on Organic Medicinal and Aromatic Plants.
At the end of the 3 days, all realized that to ensure sustainability it is very important to stay connected to the organic movement and its major stakeholders, as well as to raise local awareness for organic agriculture and consumption of organic products. It is expected that these realizations will not only strengthen the responsibility of the ETO branches, but also help them to design and implement branch-individual strategies and action plans in the near future.

Name of Event: Train of Trainer Course - Supporting ETO branches in their sustainability actions
Venue:   İzmir
Date:     13 - 15 April 2015

Trade Potential between Turkey and the EU

With the Turkish economy growing drastically and suppliers getting more and more competitive, Turkey became an important country of origin for Bio-products. In this respect, an importer Workshop and the recurring German – Turkish Get-Together were held in February 2015 in Nürnberg.

Importer Workshop: Safeguarding effective organic Quality for Imports
Among the ecological exports of Turkish hazelnuts, dried fruit, pulses and fruit products are many opportunities for European importers but also many uncertainties. Questions about Turkish trading restrictions and practices, specific risks along the entire value-added chain, fulfillment of European standards, quality requirements and identification of trustful suppliers need to be clarified. To shed light on these queries, the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL) organised in cooperation with Import Promotion Desk, an Importer Workshop relating to the Turkish purchasing market. 

The event started with several thought-provoking presentations, highlighting and discussing the following topics:

  • Overview of the organic farming in Turkey based on actual situation and structures, key export facts and strengths and weaknesses.
  • Introduction of the German-Turkish Bilateral Cooperation and its efforts and activities.
  • Real life experiences importing from Turkey.
  • Product quality development over the years.

Following the presentations, the participants were divided in two work groups, whereas one team discussed in-depth quality assurance and the other the improvement of cooperation with Turkish growers and processors. Based on the comprehensive outcomes of the work groups, and the professional moderation of Dr. Thomas Bernet, Senior Consultant of FiBL Switzerland and expert of market- and method development, the potential actions to ensure the desired sustainability of the Project’s future activities were identified and formulated.

In the final evaluation round, the participants were remarkable positive, not just because of the project activities – which they found very important to continue – but also with regard to the successful exchange of experience with other firms about Turkish imports and the associated potential quality struggles.

German – Turkish Get-Together
Under the mottos “Meet business partners and actors from Turkey and Germany” and “Get to know training tools offered and events organized by the project”, the German – Turkish Get-Together again proved to be an important and informal meeting point for Turkish products trade. Along the numerous Export- and Import firms were international short-term experts whom have been already active professionally for the German-Turkish Bilateral Cooperation. Accompanied by appetizing Turkish snacks of organic farming, inspiring discussion about ecological farming took place endorsing future business.

Name of Event: Turkey - EU Trade Potential
1) Importer Workshop: Ensuring effective organic Quality for Imports
2) German – Turkish Get-Together
Venue:   MS Biofach - Nürnberg
Date:     10 – 11 February 2015

Protecting the reputation of organic products: harmonized rules and inspection procedures for organic farmer’s markets

With the positive trend in consumer awareness and demand towards affordable, fresh, local, and healthy foods in Turkey, the national organic marketplace has grown significantly and therefore more complex procedures of safeguarding product quality at these farmer’s markets is required.

Presently there are no clearly defined and harmonized rules among the operators of farmer’s markets regarding food safety, traceability and residue-free products and even third party inspection is not very common. For fraud prevention and the integrity of organic products it is essential to define such commonly accepted rules, which include risk-oriented, effective and low-cost control procedures of vendors.

The German-Turkish Bilateral Project Organic Agriculture assigned Dr. Regula Bickel,  coordinator food quality at the Department of Socio-Economic Sciences of FiBL Switzerland, as international short-term expert to evaluate this present situation and to develop recommendations for harmonized farmer’s market rules and standardized procedures for inspection and certification in line with the Turkish Organic Regulation. Furthermore, two related workshops were effectively conducted to increase the awareness and set the foundation about organic integrity of organic farmer’s market with major stakeholders.

Preparation and Mission
During the preparation phase (Oct ’14 – Jan ’15), the national experts Sirin Ruchan and Volkan Öztürk investigated the actual situation of organic farmer’s markets in Turkey, and presented a detailed report of these marketing activities and its importance for the organic sector.
Based on the comprehensive work done during the preparation phase, Dr. Regula Bickel visited ETO’s ecologic bazaar in Bostanli, Izmir as well as Sisli Ecologic bazaar in Istanbul in January 2015, and conducted various interviews with organizers, inspectors and sellers of such markets. Major findings and conclusions were all documented and an important milestone was laid to improve various control rules and methods in the future.

Workshops
Within the context of improving effective control methods of organic farmer’s markets, the German-Bilateral Project conducted two successful workshops:

On January the 19th 2015, during a 1-day inspectors training for improved control methods, ten representatives from seven Turkish Control Bodies (CBs) intensively discussed in open-group form about integrity issues, such as traceability, CB responsibilities and product flow control.

This was followed by a 1-day expert workshop on January 20th 2015, bringing together for the very first time, organizers of organic farmer’s markets from all over Turkey, including Bugday and Municipalities from Ankara, Istanbul and Mersin and professional guest speakers out of the field.

After the excellent presentation of Sirin Ruchan addressing the actual situation of the present 22 organic farmer’s markets in Turkey, Ali Kemal Öztürk from MoFAL explained the legal side of such markets. Dr. Sule Kazak from EGE University presented an interesting survey conducted among consumers in Izmir about their expectations and buying behaviour of organic products. According to her study, organic farmer’s markets are the most favourite place of purchase for consumers. Dr. Regula Bickel completed the workshop presentations with major conclusions, which can be summarized as follows:

  • Lack of legal regulation: when handling bulk products, intermediaries need to be controlled.
  • Certificates are no real safety! There are too many documents issued with different layouts and formats, which makes it difficult to recognize the real organic status of a product. At least certificate formats should be adjusted.
  • Traceability is an important issue for consumers.
  • Problem of declaration, especially for bulk products.

CBs should be more visible on the market. They should especially conduct product flow controls by quantity checks and cross checks. Work input and effectiveness should be in balance.
Organic integrity requires highly qualified CBs.
Training on all levels is a must.

Following the lively discussions and professional results of the three working group sessions, Elisabeth Rüegg, coordinator of the Bilateral Project, summarized the outcome of this “historical meeting”, and stressed the importance of farmer’s markets for the consumers’ trust in organic products. ‘Among others, Bugday and ETO have done a lot of pioneering work to bring the organic movement in Turkey forward. Better communication and training will help to keep a high quality standard of these markets.’
As ETO is directly engaged in the organization of organic farmer’s markets there is a high potential, that the recommendations given during this mission will be considered and lead to consequent changes and improvements. This might give ETO a competitive advantage, by providing better and safer markets and even give consultancy to Municipalities intending to open farmer’s markets.

Name of Event: Development of a concept for harmonized rules and inspection procedures of organic farmer’s markets
Venue:  İzmir

Date:    15th to 20th January 2015

Assuring Organic Integrity of Grower Groups in Turkey

Following the successful initial Government Workshop in March 2013, the German-Turkish Bilateral Project organized a second interactive 3-days-training in January 2015 for staff of provincial agricultural directorates in Turkey. The comprehensive agenda addressed various topics related to organic integrity of grower groups and targeted governmental stakeholders directly involved in such projects all over Turkey.
With the workshop focussing mainly on small growers organized as an organic group and eventually contracted by a processing/export company, the major subjects covered were:

  • Professional management of grower groups
  • Success factors for contract production of organic grower groups in Turkey
  • Specific requirements for inspection and certification of grower groups
  • How to achieve financial and project sustainability of smallholder groups
  • Design, organisation and administration of smallholder projects with practical exercises
  • Marketing for smallholder projects with practical exercises
  • Best-practice examples

Around 30 motivated participants from 10 different provinces followed the lectures with much interest and engaged intensively in exchanging information and group work. Presentations of the results of the working groups and their SWOT analyses, were based on the aspects covered during the training days and confirmed the material presented by the various speakers. Most beneficial for all participants were to see how the good-practice criteria can be applied and implemented in reality as well as the feedback of the evaluation expert jury of Gerald Herrmann, Atila Ertem and Elisabeth Rüegg.

The 3-days-workshop ended with a fascinating excursion to Atınç Turizm Tarım Ürünleri San. ve Tic company based in Selcuk. During the tour, owner Mr. Afşar Mehmet Aka shared his personal success story of how he built up a local market for his organic olive oil and discussed in detail the development of the national organic market with the participants.

Name of Event: Assuring Organic Integrity of Grower Groups (GP)
Venue:   Özdere, İzmir
Date:     11th to 14th January 2015

Organic Medicinal and Aromatic Plants discussed at Ecology Izmir

The German-Turkish Bilateral Cooperation Project together with ETO made a very effective representation at their well located booth in Ecology Izmir Fair, Turkey’s leading trade event for certified organic products. The Project was introduced to many substantial visiting companies resulting in an increased level of awareness of the Project’s goals and activities. The event also was a golden opportunity to meet the existing project contacts and update them for their further support.

The main highlight of the fair was the International Turkish Quality Symposium for Organic Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (MAPs), jointly organized by the Project, ETO, Fairwild Foundation and IZFAS. More than a hundred international and local participants attended the symposium where topics such as the importance of MAPs worldwide, critical aspects like residues, MAPs in Turkey, wild collection of MAPs, and marketing best practices were looked into in various sessions for two days. The symposium opening speech was given by Izmir German Consulate Siegfried Grabarec and the following presentations were highly appreciated:

  • Organic business, authenticity and challenges, by Kurt Nübling
  • Opportunities and challenges of medicinal & aromatic plants, by Dr. Irmela Harz
  • Steps to create a successful marketing strategy for organic herbs, by Viktoria Hykava
  • Success story of Martin Bauer, by Akın Palazoğlu
  • Safety issues affecting herbs: pyrrolizidine alkaloids, by Dr. Norbert Kolb
  • Important quality management issues for organic herbs and spices, by Christian Schmidt
  • Herbicide residues in organic cumin and anise: a research project initiated by a private company, by Akın Kayandan
  • Important medicinal and aromatic non-wood forest products of Turkey, by Prof. Dr. Ahmet Ulvi Zeybek
  • Research on medicinal and aromatic plants in Turkey, by Dr. Isa Özkan
  • Selim Uludağ Organic Farm in Sanliurfa, by Mehmet Uludağ
  • Overview of world production and marketing of organic wild collected products, by Gerald Herrmann
  • Implementation of good practices in wild collection, by Klaus Dürbeck
  • Specific requirements for organic inspection and certification of wild collected herbs, by Levent Alisir
  • International export promotion programs for medicinal and aromatic plants, by Klaus Dürbeck

The Project team received very positive feedback from so many participants that Elisabeth Rüegg, the German-Turkish Bilateral Project Coordinator, was happy the symposium was helpful for the shareholders and that the new knowledge and contacts gained at the event will contribute to developing their individual businesses further, as stated in her closing notes.

Name of Event: Ecology Izmir Fair + International Turkish Quality Symposium for Organic Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (MAP Symposium)
Venue:   İzmir
Date:     16 - 19 April 2015

Regional Stakeholder Platform Mersin on Organic Citrus

The German-Turkish Bilateral Cooperation Project Organic Agriculture successfully completed the regional platform event where stakeholders from Mersin and Adana, the most important growing area for citrus in Turkey and for fresh fruits and vegetables in general, got an intense boost of quality awareness organic production.
The 2-days-workshop was targeted to stakeholders in the provinces of Mersin and Adana (1st day), as well as to private sector representatives (2nd day). The meetings were hosted by Akdeniz İhracatçıları Birlikleri in Mersin (Mediterranean Exporters Association). With this event, the German-Turkish Bilateral Cooperation Project – Organic Agriculture continued to carry its activities to various regions in Turkey and by this raise awareness for quality issues throughout the country.

Regional Platform
Around 100 people participated in this half day workshop with representatives from various institutions, such as the mayor and the governor of Mersin and the provincial agricultural directorate. Presentations were covering a wide spectrum of important issues including success stories of organic entrepreneurs in the region. The two participating German and Dutch importers were also asked on stage: moderated by Atila Ertem the foreign guests answered questions around organic trade with citrus fruits.
As already experienced in the first phase of the Bilateral Project, this type of meeting has proofed to be an ideal platform for regional information exchange and networking in the organic sector.

Expert Workshop

The expert workshop was conducted in two parts: a half day excursion, during which an organic citrus farm as well as two certified packing houses could be seen. During these visits several subjects related to quality could be discussed. And a full day expert workshop with various presentations and discussions around organic citrus production and marketing, which raised high interest with more than 20 stakeholders participating from the organic sector.

The Project could attract two well-known import companies to join the meeting: Mr. Ronald Vianen from BioTropic in Holland and Mr. Dirk Salentin from BioFruit in Germany. They interacted actively with the workshop participants and both stressed the following issues as most important for organic trade with Turkey:

  • Right time: early market arrival, especially for lemons; there is a time gap between South Africa and Spain which could potentially be occupied by Turkey.
  • Right quality: category I with good taste is a must. Strong partnership with trusted suppliers is equally important. Regional product is preferable or at least efficient delivery routes need to be established.
  • Right price: biggest competitors are Italy, Spain and South Africa. The European countries have the advantage of the closer distance and easier import procedures; this must be compensated by Turkey.
  • Fair trade and working conditions: consumer perception is important and Turkey must work on the improvement of social standards.
  • Good story: consumers ask for transparency down to the farmer.

Discussion on opportunities and challenges of trade with Turkey followed after this session and resulted in a SWOT analysis and first thoughts about necessary actions to improve the organic citrus industry in Mersin and establish sustainable trade relations with Europe.

Both events in Mersin have been organized in close cooperation with local stakeholders. The Projects’ special thanks go to Dr. Metin Özsavran, who supported this event with his knowhow and contacts. Other regional organizations involved were Ekotar (organic control body) and ETO Adana branch. As Elisabeth Rüegg, the German-Turkish Bilateral Project Coordinator states, “The regional platforms have proven to be very productive in terms of knowledge and experience sharing as well as networking for the organic industry.” Participants confirmed that they benefited extensively from the presentations, the excursions and the Expert Workshop during this 2 day event.

Name of Event:
Regional Multi-Stakeholder Platform and Expert Workshop
Venue:   Mediterranean Exporters’ Association, Mersin
Date:     1 - 2 December 2014

International Year of Family Farming 2014 Celebrated and Promoted

logo 2014 International Year of Family Farming

The United Nations declared 2014 the International Year of Family Farming (IYFF) to recognize the importance of family farming in reducing poverty and improving global food security. The goal of the 2014 IYFF is to reposition family farming at the centre of agricultural, environmental and social policies in the national agendas by identifying gaps and opportunities to promote a shift towards a more equal and balanced development.

National Year of Family Faming celebrated in Turkey and abroad
There were many occasions where the German-Turkish Bilateral Cooperation Project acknowledged and promoted IYFF.

The Bilateral Project announced a special price for the best organic family farm in 2014 in the frame of its demonstration farm concept. Inspired by these events, the Bilateral Project has started to put family farms stronger in the focus of its activities.

The Project coordinator Elisabeth Rüegg and long-term national expert Atila Ertem both attended the BMEL Symposium “Perspectives for Family Farms - an International Experience”, which took place in Berlin between 11 - 12 September 2014. Additionally, Dr. Alev Kır, who is a Demonstration Farm Contest Jury Member, had been invited to the event as a representative of ETO. She made a presentation highlighting the essential role rural family farming play not only on a global perspective but especially for Turkey. The Symposium kicked off with Federal Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt’s opening speech and was place to vital opportunity to exchange perspectives across countries, on the major challenges family farms were facing today, through panel discussions, working groups and a study tour.

To make allowance to the International Year of Family Farming, MoFAL organized a 2-days national symposium in Ankara, during which official policies in favour of the sustainable development of agricultural systems based on family units in Turkey were proposed and discussed. Approx. 200 people participated in this symposium. Projects’ national long term expert Mr. Atila Ertem joined the event on behalf of the German-Turkish Bilateral Project. The platform was arranged in four parallel groups related to various subjects, such as:

  • strengthening of the role of farmers’ organizations;
  • increasing civil society's awareness on the importance of supporting family farming;
  • enhancing sustainability of rural development;
  • designing a roadmap for contribution and support of family farming concepts;
  • building up cooperative organizations of family farms;
  • awareness of the impact of family farming to immigration issues.

Farmers in Turkey have been struggling for years due to the increased cost of inputs of farming, thus their debt also raised. Inevitably, nearly 1 million farmers had to abandon their farms and migrate to big cities or some of them have taken up the works at coal mines. This wave of agricultural producers leaving the sector is a big threat to food security and also crucial for unemployment of the new generations.

Thus, this symposium has pointed out the importance of saving natural resources and the protection of environment for sustainable development, human health and wealth. Furthermore, scientific world of researchers have been attracted to these threatening issues through the symposium.
ETO, will integrate the input gained at these events and conferences to its initiative to found an ecological competence centre in Turkey as well as to his future activities.

Name of Event 1: BMEL Symposium “Perspectives for Family Farms - an International Experience”
Venue:   Berlin
Date:     11 - 12 September 2014

Name of Event 2: National Family Farming Symposium
Venue:   Ankara
Date:     30 - 31 October 2014

IFOAM Organic World Congress Closed with Rewarding Participation

Another successful IFOAM Organic World Congress (OWC) was closed on 14 October 2014 leaving behind a big positive impact on the world of organic agriculture. The German-Turkish Bilateral Cooperation Project is also very proud to have contributed to this commitment to solve the challenges of sustainable organic agriculture with many activities prior to and throughout the OWC.

Career Meeting
One of the most significant events the Project organized within the OWC program was the Career Meeting, a one day pre-conference workshop aiming at providing students and young professionals specifically interested in working in the organic sector a platform where they could network with employers directly and get information on training and employment possibilities. The workshop was held on 12th October 2014 in Ceylan InterContinental Hotel in Istanbul with around 100 participants devoted to the organic industry.
The Career Meeting could be best summarized with the following marks:

  • Local educational institutions exhibited their training courses in organic food and farming in Turkey,
  • Selected European Universities exhibited their international master courses in organic food and farming,
  • Producers, traders, certifiers and Turkish enterprises in the organic sector presented themselves to potential employees,
  • A new online portal for career and job opportunities in the Turkish organic sector was launched,
  • International and national pioneers in the organic sector shared their personal success stories with the audience,
  • The dialogue of young professionals from Turkey and abroad with potential employers and training institutions was facilitated.

The Project aims at developing this Career Meeting concept by working more closely with agricultural faculties in Turkey in order to attract the maximum participation of students and young professionals and to reach an optimum level of networking among candidates and employers.

ETO Workshop
Secondly, another successful activity the Project participated to OWC with was a workshop and Demonstration Farm Contest prize distribution ceremony organized by ETO and took place on 11th October 2014. The outstanding winner farmers not only received their symbolic “Oscars” and certificates but also made possible a very lively and fruitful workshop which was wrapped up with a delightful dinner by the Bosphorus.

FiBL Workshop on Quallity Improvements
Thirdly, FiBL in cooperation with The German-Turkish Bilateral Cooperation Project, organized a workshop at the OWC aiming at improving quality management along the supply chain of organic products. The German-Turkish Bilateral Cooperation Project Coordinator Elisabeth Rüegg, Kirsten Arp from the German Association of Organic Processors, Wholesalers and Retailers (BNN), and Dr. Jochen Neuendorf from Resource Protection/Gesellschaft für Ressourcenschutz (GfRS), Germany talked on the following respective topics in order to raise awareness and share know-how:

  • “Capacity building of stakeholders on a national level: Experience from Turkey”
  • “BNN Monitoring for Fruit and Vegetables – a comprehensive quality assurance system with a focus on pesticide analysis”
  • “Effective supply chain audits for better quality products”  

Interaction with BMEL
And lastly, Project’s overall contribution to the Turkish organic sector was illustrated in an informal gathering that took place between the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) and the Turkish Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock (MoFAL) allowing both parties to introduce themselves and update each other on the recent developments in the organic sector. Dr. Werner Kloos, Head of Department 51 at BMEL, Dr. Jörg Lotz from the Department Organic Agriculture, Mr. Philipp zu Erbach-Fuerstenau, Commercial Attaché at the German Embassy in Ankara and Ms. Alexandra Burmann from GFA attended the meeting as well as representation of The Bilateral Project by Ms. Beate Huber, Mr. Boris Liebl, Ms. Elisabeth Rüegg, Mr. Atila Ertem, Ms. Melek Gültekin and Ms. Zehra Kul.
Ms. Vildan Karaaslan, President of Organic Agricultural Department of MoFAL, emphasized her support for all efforts the German-Turkish Bilateral Cooperation Project has put in so far for the organic industry in Turkey and expressed her gratitude to the German Ministry for financing the Project. The Project team was proud to hear as Ms. Vildan Karaaslan and Mr. Ali Kemal Öztürk, official point of contact of the Project in Turkish Ministry, noted, the Project team’s work has been very successful throughout Turkey with significantly valuable outcomes.
The day was closed with a special dinner organized by the Project. As Elisabeth Rüegg, the Project Coordinator said “We are grateful for the opportunity for close contact with BMEL and the chance to share our experiences in details.

Name of Event: Project Activities during IFOAM Organic World Congress
Venue:   Istanbul
Date:     11 - 14 October 2014

Training and Career Opportunities in the Organic Sector - Career Meeting

In the frame of the German-Turkish Bilateral Cooperation Project, jointly implemented by FiBL and ETO, a pre-conference at the IFOAM Organic World Congress in Istanbul is organised to showcase the promising job opportunities in the organic sector to young professionals. The event will take place on Sunday, 12th of October in Istanbul. The language of the conference will be Turkish with simultaneous translation to English.
Presently agricultural education is offered by 27 agricultural faculties and several vocational schools in Turkey. However, promising school leavers often prefer training and job offers in other sectors than agriculture, where they expect better career opportunities. As a consequence, there is a lack of well-trained junior staff to bring the organic sector in Turkey forward. Thus, this pre-conference is set up as “training & career meeting”, demonstrating to the participants that the organic sector offers a wide range of interesting challenges.
The highlights of the event are:

  • Launching of a new internet portal for career and job opportunities in the organic sector in Turkey.
  • Bringing together organizations offering training in organic food and farming (Turkey and worldwide) with potential students and young professionals.
  • Organic Enterprises will present job profiles and possibilities.
  • International and national pioneers in the organic sector will share their personal success stories with the audience.
  • Facilitation of the dialogue of young professionals from Turkey and other countries with potential employers and training institutions.

Name of Event: IFOAM Congress 2014 Pre-Conference
Venue:
  Ceylan InterContinental Hotel , Taksim
Date:    Sunday, 12 October 2014, 10.00 - 16.00
Participants: Up to 150 people will be welcomed
Participation Fee: no registration fee
Registration: Please use OWC registration system

For further information please click here (295 KB).

Laying the Foundations for an Organic Competence Center in Turkey

Between 7th to 11th September 2014, a Turkish delegation of professionals representing research, education and government institutions, NGO’s and private sector, visited eco-organizations in Switzerland and Germany in a trip organized by FiBL Germany and financed by the German-Turkish Bilateral Cooperation Project. During this five-day study tour the following best-practice examples in the organic sector could be visited and valid information was acquired on content, structure and financing of such initiatives:

  • Ökomarkt, Hamburg
  • Organic Competence Center Niedersachsen, Viesselhövede
  • FiBL Switzerland, Frick
  • FiBL Germany, Frankfurt
  • Bioland National Association, Mainz
  • Forschungsring for Bio-Dynamic Farming, Darmstadt
  • Domäne Mechtildshausen, Darmstadt
  • Hofgut Oberfeld, Darmstadt

Thanking FiBL for their staff’s excellent organizaton, the delegation expressed their gratitude to the German-Turkish Bilateral Cooperation Project for making this successful study tour possible and for sharing with them the valuable knowledge only possible with this trip. All participants returned with high inspiration as well as great motivation to collaborate further on the Turkish Organic Competence Center approach initiated by ETO.

What is “Organic Competence Center”?
According to the concept leaded by ETO, the competence center should act as a gateway for organic life and production in Turkey. It will provide knowledge and training in every aspect connected to organic agriculture and environmental issues including research, private sector and consumers. One of the ideas is to offer a compulsory training program for farmers and processing companies wishing to get organic certification.
The new: approach: “Organic Performance Certificate /  “Organik Yeterlik Belgesi - OYB”)
The concept emerged from the lack of training resources for farmers and entrepreneurs wishing to convert to organic production, whereas there were many organizations that offered organic certification. After a period of analysis and consultations, ETO and the Project concluded that there is a major and urgent need to train farmers and alike along the production process, while they’re striving to get certified organic. The program will not only offer trainings to all kinds of organic operators such as farmers, processing companies or exporters, but will also train those who wish to become trainers in the OYB program. With its proven method that’s been successfully implemented by JAS of Japan, BioSuisse of Switzerland, NOP of USA etc, the OYB is planned to bring standards to the quality of organics in Turkey across all levels of production. The training shall be fully authorized by MoFAL and be a precondition to receive organic certification.

Name of Event: Study Tour to Switzerland and Germany for “Organic Competence Center”
Venue:   Switzerland and Germany
Date:     7 - 11 September 2014

Cooperation Seeds With ÇAYKUR Planted

çaykur logo

Turkey’s largest tea producer ÇAYKUR, who has an annual output of 133,000 tons of dry tea from 75,900 hectares of cultivated area with a turnover of 700 million, has an ambitious goal for 2023: To convert the whole tea production to organic farming. Presently, about 207,000 independent farmers on the eastern Black Sea coast grow quality tea for ÇAYKUR. The aim is to make the Rize region the world's largest organic farming area.
The German-Turkish Bilateral Cooperation Project proactively set up a focus group meeting with ÇAYKUR in their headquarters in Rize, in order to illustrate what the Project and ETO can offer and to pinpoint ways to collaborate with them in the near future. The meeting with Deputy Managing Director of ÇAYKUR Dr. Turgay Turna and 40 employees was significantly worthwhile as strong feedback was received on possible future training organizations for 80 of ÇAYKUR’s agricultural engineers, and on establishment of an organic market in the Rize region. Participants showed great interest in the subject as many questions were asked during the discussion moderated by Atila Ertem and Elisabeth Rüegg.

Name of Event: Focus Group Meeting with the management and employees of ÇAYKUR
Venue:   ÇAYKUR Headquarters, Rize
Date:     26 June 2014

The Project Side by Side with TAGEM

The German-Turkish Bilateral Cooperation Project is devoted to the development of organic agriculture in Turkey. For this very purpose it places big emphasis on research and therefore walks hand in hand with the General Directorate of Agricultural Research and Policies (TAGEM) of Turkey. TAGEM is a very essential stakeholder of the Project who had three interrelated events involving research and TAGEM in 2014.

Firstly, ETO president and project senior expert Atila Ertem attended TAGEM’s Annual Research Evaluation Meeting with 35 other organic industry representatives from government research institutes throughout Turkey and academics from agriculture faculties of universities. Annual reports of recent research were presented, how these research results could be implemented was discussed and proposals for new research projects were made during the event where the Bilateral Project also was given an opportunity to present its activities in a presentation. Current research topics of TAGEM include organic vegetable seed propagation and improved storage condition for organic dried figs.
The main highlights were the two contacts made during the event:

  • Mr. Salih Çalı, president of Uludağ Fresh Fruits and Vegetable Exporters’ Association and a manager at Turkey’s biggest fresh cherry and fig export company Alana Agri, who has agreed to cooperate with the Project at the Bursa Regional Platform and Expert Workshop.
  • Dr. Ayşen Vural, Organic Agriculture Group Coordinator at TAGEM and Dr. Birgül Ertan, researcher from Erbeyli Fig Research Institute, both of whom are key players for the regional TAGEM Workshops the Project is organizing.

Secondly, The German-Turkish Bilateral Cooperation Project organized a workshop that brought TAGEM and sector representatives to discuss and declare the research needs of a specific crop: Fig. This was the second event after the previous year’s first general TAGEM Research Workshop as a result of which the project had decided to plan a series of TAGEM Research Workshops that looked into specific regions and crops. Researchers, government staff, private sector representatives and experts from Ege University and Aegean Exporters’ Union were present at the event where intense information exchange was successfully facilitated and valuable outputs were fruitfully produced.
The event concluded with a declaration of the following areas in organic fig production that need prioritized research:

  • Development of successful trapping methods against Carpophilus dried fruit beetle
  • Production of healthy caprifig material: This certain species of Ficus, which produces both male and female flowers, is used to fertilize the female trees in commercial fig orchards.
  • Improvement of storage conditions to better avoid aflatoxin and pest problems
  • Investigation on marketing possibilities for fresh figs (Sarılop variety)
  • Improving the value chain of organic dried fig

Thirdly, another region and single crop focused TAGEM research workshop series was held in Giresun for the specific crop: Hazelnuts. Participants who consisted of researchers, government staff, private sector representatives and experts from Ordu University, declared the below list throughout the workshop for priority research needs on hazelnuts:

  • Selection of suitable hazelnut cultivars for different regions, altitudes and management systems. Proper varieties for organic hazelnut production must be identified, which are less susceptible to diseases and pests.
  • Improvement of soil management and proposal of effective measures to farmers to fight erosion in sloppy areas. Finding organic inputs is one major difficulty for farmers, which is why local resources should be used to produce organic compost on a commercial base.
  • Development of organic pest control measures, ie. hazelnut borer
  • Identification of and training on proper harvesting techniques for farmers concerning tree damage and periodicity problems
  • Analysis of the relationship between unsuitable harvesting machines and aflatoxin, and study of new harvesting technologies that cause less damage and improve cost efficiency.
  • Standardization of raw material quality evaluation and definition of norms
  • Development of value added products, ie. hazelnut spreads. (There is no organic sugar available in Turkey, therefore such initiatives depend on import of or production permission for organic sugar)
  • Establishment of a fair pricing system which grant farmers a sufficient income. Establishment of an Organic Hazelnut Stock Market that would serve to set stable rates with less fluctuation and that would be independent from conventional world markets.
  • Investigation of the possible commercial use of the environmental benefit of organic agriculture contributing to lower carbon emission, ie. compensation schemes

Project Coordinator Elisabeth Rüegg is very proud of all above activities and their outcomes; “The research and sector hand-in-hand approach we are following is giving wonderful results. We are proud to see all private sector, universities and government institutions so motivated now and so willing to work together for a mutual goal, to perfect the quality of organic produce. We are happily observing that discussions and information exchanges continue with almost same pace after the workshops we organize.

Name of Event 1: TAGEM Organic Research Conference,
Venue:   Belek, Antalya
Date:     24 - 26 February 2014

Name of Event 2: TAGEM Workshop I
Venue:   Erbeyli Fig Research Institute, Aydın
Date:     31 March - 1 April 2014

Name of Event 3: TAGEM Workshop II
Venue:   Hazelnut Research Institute, Giresun
Date:     24 - 25 June 2014

Advanced Level C Consultant Training Gave First Grads

The German-Turkish Bilateral Cooperation Project has been working on the third module of its organic consultancy trainings, a 3 day Level C Consultant Workshop which was successfully completed on 26 May 2014.

The C Level module which was designed with the OpenAir School concept, was offered to experienced candidates and was highly beneficial for the participants to get an intense hands on training on the field where they could understand the needs of a farmer from a consultant.

On the first day of the training, which was a field day, the class;

  • made a visit to Mehmet Bayraktar’s organic farm in Ören, Kemalpasa,
  • received explanations on fruit orchards, soil management, fertilization and plant protection strategies and machinery there in the farm,
  • identified the problems in the farm,
  • worked in groups to find solutions for the determined issues
  • and made presentations of their findings and results.

The second day was an in-class day with lectures given by Prof. Ibrahim Duman and Dr. Franco Weibel on topics of “Successful soil management, Development of a fertilization plan, Crop rotation concept” and “Assessing pest and disease problems, Assisting farmers in their conversion of farms from conventional to organic, Conducting successful advisory visits” respectively. The day concluded with a session where the class worked in groups to design a fertilization concept, a plant protection concept and a marketing concept for a farm, and presented their work.

The third and last day of the training was again a field day where the class;

  • made a visit to Muzaffer Kul’s organic farm in Ören, Kemalpasa,
  • applied the gained knowledge by assessing the status of the farm in terms of organic best practice and sustainability, through activities such as interview with farm manager, field inspection and document study
  • identified the problems in the farm,
  • worked in groups to find solutions for the determined issues
  • and made presentations of their findings and results.

All hardworking participants received their certificates at the end of this Advanced Consultants’ Training. One of the participants said “A colleague of mine couldn’t attend this course as there was a limited number of participants possible. I also heard here from other participants that there were many people who still want to take this training. I strongly believe there is a huge need and demand for an advanced on-the-field training like this and the Project should continue delivering it frequently.

Name of Event: Organic Consultant Workshop
Venue:   ETO Office, Izmir
Date:     24 - 26 May 2014

Swiss and Turkish Students Together in one Platform

Agricultural students of Bern University in Switzerland came together with colleagues of EGE University in Izmir under the German-Turkish Bilateral Cooperation Project for a platform to exchange information on organic agriculture as well as to find out about training and job opportunities in the two countries.

The Platform kicked off with the Project Coordinator Elisabeth Rüegg’s introduction followed by speeches of Prof. Dr. Ahmet Altındişli from Ege University, who briefly presented the agricultural programs offered at EGE University. Dr. Grenz, lecturer at Bern University, presented current organic activities, trends, challenges and organic product market in Switzerland and Prof.Dr. Uygun Aksoy completed this program by informing the participants about the organic sector in Turkey, highlighting the organic improvements and milestones.

The students, with guidance of the teaching staff, had a chance to work in 4 groups of mixed nationalities on the following 4 subjects:

  • Consumer expectations towards organic products
  • Opportunities and constraints in organic supply chains    
  • Motivation and reasons for farmers to convert to organic production
  • Education and training possibilities in the country / region

On the following days students did some field visits around Izmir. First they went to Mursalli village in Aydın, where students acquired valuable information about organic fig farming and organization of small farmer projects. The second visit was to 2013’s winner of demonstration farm competition in Menemen region, Mr. Halil, who passionately shared his great experience in organic production methods with the students.

As the Project’s national long term expert Mr. Atila Ertem noted at the end of the event, “This international agricultural students’ platform was a great experience for all parties who attended it. The excitement of the students was very promising especially during the group work, when they realized there were so many similarities between countries and also so many differentiating points. The event was a true eye opener.

Name of Event: Swiss-Turkish Agricultural Students Platform
Venue:   Ege University, Faculty of Agriculture, Blok D Fevzi Önder Conference Hall, Izmir
Date:     12 May 2014

Regional Stakeholder Platform Bursa and Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

One of Turkey’s important growing region for fresh fruits and vegetables is Bursa. With its very promising organic projects and exceptionally high potential, the German-Turkish Bilateral Cooperation Project arranged another regional platform and expert workshop in the area to discuss opportunities for fresh and frozen organic goods.
The platform took place at Uludağ Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Exporters’ Association with its director Mr. Salih Çalı’s active participation and hosted around 100 participants from various organizations like provincial agricultural directorates, municipalities, Uludağ and Ege Universities, NGO’s, producers and CBs. The Quality Manager of the German importing company Henri Lamotte was also present at the platform meeting.
The two day event was place to very effective information exchange on the vast potential Bursa offers on organic production, processing and exporting as well as the challenges the area is facing or the perspective of the importers. Important bridges were built within the event and during the Project team’s visit to the director of the Provincial Agricultural Directorate of Bursa.

Name of Event: Bursa Regional Platform, Expert Workshop I
Venue:   Uludağ Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Exporters’ Association, Bursa
Date:     5 - 6 May 2014

Government Consultation Meeting at BioFACH 2014

Group of people following a presentation
People posing for a group photo

The German-Turkish Bilateral Cooperation Project Organic Agriculture agreed on certain suggestions, like focusing on the drift issue on technical trainings or offering support to MoFAL for the development of the “organic driver license” concept, to include in their 2014-2015 phase. Such resolutions were made in government consultation meetings during their attendance at the world’s leading trade fair for organic food, BioFACH in Nuremberg Germany with attendance of 15 representatives from competent authorities, control bodies, laboratories and the private sector from Germany and Turkey.

Some of the highlighted discussions were;

  • Firstly, on drift: If the detected residues were actual drifts or drift was the general excuse for cases where no used chemicals were found on the field, was debated during the meeting.
  • Secondly, training the farmers with an “organic drivers’ licence” concept: It has been discussed that authorities in Germany looks firmly into the training of farmers. It has also been agreed that it is crucial for farmers in Turkey be trained better for obtaining the desired quality of the organic produce. An offer by the Project has been made to MoFAL to assist them in a certificate (“organic driver license”) program to offer not only to farmers but traders and processors alike.
  • And finally, traceability of refused products: The participants agreed that better communication and better transparency amongst players of the sector and is necessary on traceability of organic products and organic transactions.

Name of Event: Government Consultation Meeting
Venue:
  BioFACH, Germany
Date:    14 February 2014

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Risk Based Certification on the Table

Group of people in laboratory coveralls
Group of people sitting at a table

A very popular workshop for staff of Control Bodies was organized by the German-Turkish Bilateral Cooperation Project Organic Agriculture focusing on the processing and storage phases of Turkish organic export products. The need for such a training was identified looking at the results of a survey carried out by the Project among trade companies and CBs, basically investigating the current situation about residues on organic produce exported from Turkey.

The CB Workshop was held with outstanding demand from 14 representatives of 7 CBs and an agricultural engineer from the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock (MoFAL). The program included lectures, group work and excursions, all of which aim at arming CB staff with cutting edge inspection methods and instruments. 2 international agronomist trainers Dr. Jochen Neuendorff, a true evangelist of organic and sustainability standards since 1980s and Jutta Krawinkel, who has been working in organic agriculture for 13 years with invaluable international experience, lectured and coached trainees in topics such as:

  • The OCP (Organic Critical Points) concept in processing facilities
  • Systematic evaluation of organic critical points and corresponding preventive measures in a processing facility with organic and conventional production
  • How to use traceability checks, cross checks and flow of goods checks in a risk oriented way, short input cases
  • How to deal with suspect cases; legal requirements, organising systematic, risk-orientated follow ups, obligations for inspectors and control bodies

Name of Event: CB Workshop I
Venue:
  İzmir
Date:
    22 - 23 January 2014

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UNDP / GAP Cooperation with ETO and the Bilateral Project

GAP logo

The German-Turkish Bilateral Cooperation Project held a Focus Group Meeting with 12 UNDP/GAP representatives on 17th January 2014 in GAP RDA headquarters in Şanlıurfa, as part of its targets to constitute the sustainability of its activities. As UNDP and the GAP RDA (Southeast Anatolia Project Regional Development Administration) are jointly implementing the “Organic Agriculture Cluster Development in Southeast Anatolia Project” that is funded fully by the Government of Turkey, it is clear that the intentions are overlapping with the objectives of the Bilateral Project. Therefore, the Project sees UNDP / GAP RDA as prime partners in establishing sustainable training activities in Turkey and supports ETO’s initiative to cooperate with GAP in realization of its organic roadmap by providing training for farmers and technical experts in the region.
The aim of the Focus Group Meeting was to discuss in what ways such a cooperation with ETO and the Project would be possible. As the German-Turkish Bilateral Cooperation Project Coordinator Elisabeth Rüegg noted “The fact that key decision makers of UNDP as well as GAP RDA were present during this meeting was a sign for the priority given to the training field in GAP’s organic roadmap and collaboration with ETO.”

Name of Event: Focus Group Meeting with UNDP/GAP
Venue:   GAP RDA headquarters, Şanlıurfa
Date:     17 January 2014

Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection (BMELV) visits İzmir

Group of people standing
Group of people sitting at a table

Approaching the end of the German-Turkish Bilateral Cooperation Project Organic Agriculture’s first phase (2011-2013), a mission of representatives from BMELV, GFA and FiBL came together in Izmir to meet the project team and stakeholders (Turkish Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock - MoFAL, ETO, Aegean Exporters’ Association (EIB), organic farmers and processors) and to attend the Wrap Up meeting which is the official closing event of the Project’s Phase 1.

The mission’s program included;

  • visits to organic farms, processing plants, organic bazaars
  • meetings with representatives of MoFAL, the EU Delegation of Agriculture and Rural Development Unit, Selçuk Karaosmanoğlu president of the municipality of Urla

During the intense 3-day program, the mission was provided with extensive showcase of the progress the Project has achieved. As Elisabeth Rüegg, Project Coordinator expresses, “It even surprised us to see how much we have accomplished, while we were summarizing in a way, all those activities and efforts we have placed within the course of the past two years to the visiting mission. We are not only sure but also very excited for the coming two years now that we have all this experience in hand for reaching even a higher level of success.”

Name of Event: German Ministry (BMELV) Visit
Venue:
  İzmir
Date:
    19 - 21 November 2013

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Project’s Effective Phase 1 is Evaluated and Wrapped Up!

Group of People on a Podium giving a speech
a man and a woman holding a card and flowers smiling into the camera
two women holding flowers smiling into the camera

German-Turkish Bilateral Cooperation Project Organic Agriculture reached the end of its first phase (2011-2013) with outstanding results. The collected indicators from the sector stakeholders have shown that there has been improvements in the quality of Turkish organic products. The Wrap Up meeting was helpful for the project to discuss in what ways its activities were beneficial for the sector to improve in quality aspects.

The meeting was held in four parts, an introduction, project outputs and its surroindings, project activities and multiplier effects, and a final evaluation with key questions and priorities. The speakers and the subjects were:

  • Welcome notes by, Atila Ertem, president Ekolojik Tarim Organizasyonu (ETO), Beate Huber, Head of International Department Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL), Sezmen Alper, General Secretary Aegean Exporters Union (EIB), Yıldız Gerin, Plant Production - Plant Health Branch Manager, TC Provincial Directorate of Food, Agriculture and Livestock, Izmir
  • The Bilateral Cooperation Project - an important tool to strengthen trade relations in the organic market between Turkey and EU, Philipp Graf zu Erbach-Fürstenau First Secretary, Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection, Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, Economic Section
  • Quality improvements in the organic sector in Turkey, Elisabeth Rüegg, Project Coordinator
  • Importance of quality for trade with organic products
  • Government policy on organic agriculture, Osman Aslan, Agricultural Engineer, Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock (MoFAL)
  • Tailor-made trainings as a key success factor for professional management, Bülent Miran, EGE University, National short term consultant
  • Benefit of communication platforms for better quality products, Niyazi Memur, Owner Nimeks
  • An organic magazine for Turkey – Ekoloji ve Tarım, Emre Bilen, National short term expert
  • Integrity of organic products from Turkey, Mustafa Avci, General Manager ECOCERT

Atila Ertem, National long term expert of the Project, also announced during the Wrap Up meeting, the winners of this years best practice organic farms in Turkey. 5 organic farmers listed below received their certificates of excellence for their outstanding performance and dedication to organic farming.

  • Çalış Bakır from Dikili/IZMIR
  • Fatih Ak from Gümüşhacıköy/AMASYA
  • Fatma Denizci from Kadıköy/ISTANBUL
  • Murat GİGİN from Büyükçekmece/ISTANBUL
  • Pelin Omuroğlu Balcıoğlu from Urla/IZMIR

The Wrap Up meeting concluded with an organic cocktail where participants enjoyed organic treats whilst delighting in networking with sector stakeholders who are otherwise very hard to get a hold of.

Name of Event: Wrap Up Meeting, Project Phase 1: 2011-2013
Venue:
  Aegean Exporters’ Associations, İzmir
Date:
    19 November 2013

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Bilateral Project Phase 1 Wraps Up!

GFA Consulting Group logo
FiBL logo
ETO logo

From 2011 – 2013 German-Turkish Bilateral Cooperation Project Organic Agriculture implemented a series of events to help develop the organic agriculture in Turkey and tackle quality issues by providing know how. The project involved all stakeholders from government institutions to smallest initiatives, for a common goal of increasing high quality organic production by providing theoretical information, best practices and encouraging support. Activities included consultants' trainings (theoretical and on-site), seminars, expert workshops, publishing of an eco-magazine, stakeholder platforms (local and international) and an organic farm contest.

On 20th November GFA, FIBL and ETO are coming together with local partners such as EIB, MoFAL and project consultants in İzmir to evaluate the Project as it is approaching the end of its Phase 1.

Project outputs and its multiplier effects will be reviewed during the first 2 sessions of the Wrap Up Meeting. These sessions will be followed by a third and final session of a podium discussion where representative stakeholders will discuss quality issues in production and trade with organic products.

Elisabeth Rüegg, the Project Coordinator of The German-Turkish Bilateral Cooperation Project Organic Agriculture in her speech in an internal project gathering, emphasized the importance of this meeting in collecting feedback and formulating best effective next steps and gave signs of a possible extention of the Project.

Name of Event: Wrap Up Meeting, Project Phase 1: 2011-2013
Venue:  Ege İhracatçı Birlikleri, İzmir
Date:
    20th November 2013

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Quality Symposium Fruitfully Complete

man giving a speech
People visiting Exhibition stalls

In the framework of The German-Turkish Bilateral Cooperation Project Organic Agriculture’s efforts to provide exchange platforms for the stakeholders, The Quality Symposium was successfully held with participation of representatives of companies in private sector, control bodies and accredited laboratories.

Osman Aslan, Agricultural Engineer, Ministry of Food Agriculture and Animal Husbandry, General Directorate for Agricultural Production, Department of Organic Farming and Good Agricultural Practices, said: “I would like to convey my special thanks to everyone who has contributed to the organization of this event that focuses on increasing the level of trust and quality in organic agricultural production which relies heavily on those. The gathering of the stakeholders of the sector in events like this is essential for solving residue issues in organic products and for providing the consumer with safer food. It is crucial for stakeholders to raise issues and suggested solutions that come from the field of practice. This will also prevent time, costs and efforts to go to waste.

Turkish Accredited Laboratories were able to discuss issues related to residue analyses in organics with private companies and control bodies throughout the event. Companies and control bodies also had a chance to get the updated lists of active ingredients of pesticides these labs analyze including their limits for detection and quantification with face-to-face dialogues. Participating accredited laboratories (in alphabetical order) were:

  • A&G PURLAB (www.puranaliz.com)
  • AİR ALAŞEHİR ANALYTIK (www.airlab.com.tr)
  • ALFALAB (www.alfalabtr.com)
  • AYBAK NATURA (www.aybaknatura.com.tr)
  • AYTB LAB (www.aydinticaretborsasi.org.tr/laboratuvar.php)
  • EDGE (www.edge.com.tr)
  • EGECHELAB (www.egechelab.com.tr)
  • GALAB-BATAL (www.galab-batal.com)
  • INTERTEK (www.intertek-turkey.com)
  • LabEN (www.laben.com.tr)
  • SGS Turkey (www.sgs.com.tr)

Name of Event: Quality Symposium
Venue:  Ege Palas Hotel, Izmir
Date:    19 November 2013

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Residue Analyses Under the Magnifier at Quality Symposium

The German-Turkish Bilateral Cooperation Project Organic Agriculture is getting ready for the upcoming Quality Smposium which targets companies in private sector, control bodies and accredited laboratories in specific.

The event is arranged so as to facilitate the communication of Turkish accredited laboratories with the sector who currently tends to send analysis requests off to labs in Europe. Laboratories will be able to present themselves and introduce their lists of active ingredients of pesticides they analyze directly to the private sector and control bodies, throughout the event.

The program is designed to cover all aspects of the quality issue around Turkish organics from control bodies to policies etc., with the following flow of essential topics and influential speakers:

  • Welcome notes by Elisabeth Rüegg, German-Turkish Bilateral Project Coordinator and Mustafa Avcı & Tunç Kolatan, working group “CBs” within the Project
  • Keynote speech: Assessment of the actual residue situation in Turkish organic products – a survey among Turkish and German trade companies and CBs by Dr. Bernhard Speiser, FiBLSwitzerland and Sena Ertem, national short term expert of the Project
    The survey report can be downloaded here (310 KB).
  • The importance of residue analysis for inspection and certification work - experience with the EOCC residue guideline by Sirin Ruchan, IMO-CONTROL Ltd
  • How to find the right laboratory: criteria and data for the assessment of laboratories by Oguz Ascioglu, EGE Ihracatci Birlikleri
  • The requirements of ISO/IEC 17065 and ISO Guide 67 for organic production by Gökhan Birbil, TÜRKAK, Ankara
  • The Turkish Government policy for unwanted residues in organic products by MoFAL (Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock)
  • Guideline for handling pesticide residues – experience from Czech Republic by Dr. Bernhard Speiser, FiBL Switzerland
    Quality control and management in organic products by Tülin Er, Birlik Inc.
    Improving quality through training: an eLearning course for the organic trade sector by Elisabeth Rüegg, Project Coordinator

Name of Event: Quality Symposium
Venue:
  Ege Palas Hotel, Izmir
Date:
    19 November 2013

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CB Workshop Assembles Collective Feedback to MoFAL

People listening to a presentation
man sitting at a table talking

A fruitful workshop was held by the German-Turkish Bilateral Cooperation Project Organic Agriculture with participation of Control Bodies (CBs) where around 30 representatives of over 10 CBs discussed their suggested amendments on legal arrangements on organic agriculture under the moderation of professors of agriculture from Ege University.

The three day workshop aimed at providing a collective feedback for amendment requests on the organic regulations from the sector to the government.

The workshop allowed CBs to study and reach conclusions on the following topics:

  • Defining amendment suggestions on the descriptions and articles in the law and regulations - Plants/Fruits/Vegetables
  • Defining amendment suggestions on the descriptions and articles in the law and regulations - Animal Husbandry/Fishery Products/Beekeeping
  • Defining amendment suggestions on the regulation for Animal Husbandry, Fishery Products and Beekeeping
  • Defining amendment suggestions on the regulation for Plants, Fruits and Vegetables
  • Defining the suggestions on sanctions in the law and regulations
  • Summarizing the output of the workshop
  • Collecting suggestions on how these outputs of the meeting will be transmitted to MoFAL, defining the methodology
  • Evaluation of the meeting

Name of Event: CB Workshop V
Venue:
  Aegean Exporters’ Associations, İzmir
Date:
    13 - 15 November 2013

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Turkish Public Research to Walk Hand in Hand with Private Sector

Group of people sitting on a couch
Man giving a presentation on plant protection

It has been noticed by the German-Turkish Bilateral Cooperation Project Organic Agriculture that there was a vast room for development for closer relationships between the public and private sector in Turkish organics. This was the basis for a very fruitful workshop recently held in Özdere, Izmir where Turkish government researchers, private sector and associations came together to discuss the necessary next steps for development of the organic sector.

There were crucial resolutions on the current situation and invaluable input from every participant for the advancement of cooperation among all stakeholders. The following outputs were produced at the TAGEM Research workshop:

  • Private sector should financially support research as well as government should provide more subsidies.
  • More consultants must be trained up and consultancy must be widely used in organic projects.
  • Research needs to answer private sector needs, and private sector needs to support research financially & technically.
  • More associations and cooperatives are necessary to regulate frequent communication and effective cooperation between private sector and public research.
  • The full list of outputs can be found in the Organic Agriculture Research Priorities Declaration. The full declaration document can be accessed here (225 KB).

The workshop also provided participants to work in teams of academics, researchers, private sector staff and associations to compile highest priority research needs of their respective target crops of sultanas, hazelnuts, apricots and figs.

As Prof. Dr. Uygun Aksoy, Aegean University, Faculty of Agriculture noted at the end of the event; “Organic agriculture is a long term sustainable management system of natural resources, considering plant, animal and human health and their relationships on an equality basis. This meeting was very beneficial in terms of taking a holistic approach to this system and making situation analyses, identifying and prioritizing issues and determining needed areas of research for the organic target crops of figs, sultanas, hazelnuts and apricots. An important guide is generated for organisations such as MoFAL or TUBITAK that provide research fundings.

Dr. Ayşen Alay Vural, Temperate Climate Fruits and Organic Agriculture Group Coordinator, General Directorate of Agricultural Research (TAGEM), Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock (MoFAL) also implied “It was particularly beneficial to work in separated teams for targeted strategic crops. Conclusions were reached. I will share these conclusions with my researcher colleagues in the Program Evaluation Meeting in Anlatya. I believe this will light the way for new practice-focused research projects to be designed.

Name of Event: TAGEM Research Workshop
Venue:
  Paloma Pasha Resort Özdere, Izmir
Date:
   3 - 4 November 2013

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Organic Food Research On The Table

TAGEM logo

Initiated by the German-Turkish Bilateral Cooperation Project Organic Agriculture, government researchers of TAGEM institutions will meet with managers and technical staff of organic companies to hold a workshop. The aim of this event is to be informed about the latest research results and to discuss the need of the private organic sector for specific research solutions.  The aim of this workshop is to enhance applied research and to stimulate the organic trade sector for more intensive cooperation with research institutions. The German-Turkish Bilateral Cooperation Project Organic Agriculture is also expecting this workshop to be fruitful in resulting with joint implementation research projects and use of international networks.

The workshop will be composed of keynotes from national and international experts, case studies, 4 separate working groups for apricots, sultanas, figs and hazelnuts, and final presentations of the working groups.

Keynotes will be on the following topics:

  • The importance of organic research in Turkey
  • Major obstacles and technical risk factors in organic farm production in Turkey
  • Organic research activities in Turkey
  • Benefits of research on the organic move
  • Stakeholder cooperation on enhancing quality of organic products
  • Linking the private sector with research
  • Expectation of the private sector regarding research

Name of Event: TAGEM Research Workshop
Venue:  Paloma Pasha Resort Özdere, Izmir
Date:    3-4 November 2013

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New Grad Certified Consultants Back in Business

two hands full of soil
People standing in a field listening to a man talking
People standing outdoors and holding a map

The successful attendees of the Advanced B Consultants' Training have all received their FiBL ETO certificates and now are back in their businesses spreading the knowledge to their circles.

The German-Turkish Bilateral Cooperation Project Organic Agriculture team is proud with all the feedback on this 10 Day intense training. One of the trainees, Ülfet Erdal, M. Sc. Agr. Eng. said “As a professional researcher specializing on organic farming, I did not only attain invaluable information throughout the course from lecturers who are masters in their fields, but also gained remarkable new insights out of the discussions we had during those lectures. I must also admit that I wasn’t expecting out-of-class sessions so elaborately planned to this extend. We always had the relevant people waiting for us in the venues, welcoming us right on time and very well prepared for our most efficient use of time.

The in-class sessions provided trainees a deep theoretical refreshment of their knowledge covering topics such as facts and figures in organic agriculture, being a consultant, quality management, risk awareness and management, control and certification process, conversion to organic farming, cultivation of figs, sultanas and apricots in specfic, soil health, composting, greenhouse cultivation, product processing, labelling, marketing. Trainees also had a chance to improve their professional skills in an interactive time management session.

The out-of-class sessions consisted of visits and excursions to an organic cooperative for inspection exercise, an organic compost factory, a conversion farm to help compose a conversion plan case study.

Name of Event: Consultant Training Advanced B: module 3 + 4
Venue:
  ETO, Izmir
Date:
    2-13 September 2013

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Calling All Organic Agriculture Professionals!

group of people in discussion in an office
group of people in a vineyard

The German-Turkish Bilateral Cooperation Project Organic Agriculture is starting its second round of 10 Day Advanced Consultants' Training on 2nd September 2013. Organic agriculture stakeholders who will attend the course will have an excellent opportunity to update their knowledge, improve technical skills and refine their know-how. The goal of the course is to stimulate the organic sector for such trainings, hence, to boost the number of qualified technical staff in Turkish companies and in government institutions and therefore improve profitability of operations in the sector.


This intensive course will be carried out in formats of interactive sessions, case studies, farm visits and excursions as well as lectures, and will cover these topics:

  • Principles of organic agriculture, being a consultant
  • Inspection and certification of organic products: the legal framework, documentation, national and international standards
  • Production of specialty crops by environmental guidelines: dried fruits, cotton and greenhouse cultivation
  • Organic composting
  • Conversion of farms to organic farming: conversion plan, risk assessment, conversion strategies
  • Development of personal skills (soft skills): Self and Time Management
  • Marketing of organic products

The new grad consultants will be awarded with FiBL ETO certificates. Individual coaching sessions are done on request with the aim to match candidates with companies in the organic sector, who are offering job opportunities. It is worth mentioning that 3 attendees who successfully completed last year's training soon started full-time jobs in the sector.

Name of Event: Consultant Training Advanced B: module 3 + 4
Venue:  UTAEM training centre, Menemen, Izmir
Date:    2-13 September 2013

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Handling Residue Cases in Organic Certification

cover guidelines document
group of people listening to a presentation in a conference room

EOCC (European Organic Certifiers Council) has put together a guideline for Certification Bodies (CBs) to manage pesticide residue cases in a consistant manner through which farmers who have made an honest mistake or who haven't complied with the regulations will be determined fairly and assessed accordingly. The EOCC Pesticide Residues Guideline includes procedures to interpret residue analyses, technical decision making processes, checklists for easy reference, guidance for CBs on the certification decision and next steps, best practices, and templates, with an ultimate goal of improving comsumer confidence on certified organic produce. The guideline is being developed continuously and is expected to be the basis for a common residue policiy in Europe.

The German-Turkish Cooperation on Organic Agriculture Project saw the need to communicate this important document on sustainable quality assurance and development on organic farming, and therefore designed a workshop for CBs where they took a deeper look into the Guideline, improved their know-how and exchanged best practices. The workshop commenced with welcome notes from Elisabeth Rüegg (Project Coordinator), and Mustafa Avcı and Tunç Kolatan, who assist the project as short term experts for all activities targeted to Control Bodies. Introduction to EOCC Residue Guideline and Practical Studies sections was held by Laurence Vido who is the Analysis Expert at ECOCERT S.A. Being a member of the EOCC Task Force Residues, she was actively involved in the setup of the document and is very familiar with all practical aspects of its application.

Name of Event: CB Workshop IV - An Introduction Training to Professionally Handle Residue Case
Venue:  Ege İhracatçı Birlikleri - Atatürk Cad. No:382; Alsancak 35220 İzmir
Date:    25th July 2013

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Turkey's Organic Agriculture Magazine is out!

cover Turkey organic magazine

We're excited to bring a fresh quarterly magazine that appeals to everyone in the organic sector in Turkey, from organic farmers to traders, certification bodies, trainers, advisers, labs, NGOs, government and many others. Our aim is to spread the knowledge and inspire all stakeholders for better ways to develop the market.“ - Atila Ertem, President, ETO

Ekoloji ve Tarım magazine was launched in May 2013 as part of a collaboration between The German-Turkish Cooperation on Organic Agriculture Project, ETO and Anatolia Group, after the need for it has been identified. The launching event took place with a cocktail party at the Ecology Trade Fair in İzmir on the 16th May 2013.

Peter Brul, Editor-in-Chief of Ecology and Farming Magazine attended the launching event as well as the first two workshops and supported the Turkish Ekoloji ve Tarım magazine with his expertise. He is writing for Ekoloji ve Tarım and giving our readers an international perspective. With it's evergrowing pool of authors of diverse professions and expertise in the sector from successful farms to businesses, academics, certification professionals and alike, the magazine will not only act as a knowledge transfer platform for organic agriculture in Turkey but also will become a very effective means for addressing quality issues in the supply chain.

Some topics of the first issue were:

  • Biofach 2013
  • Turkish-German Cooperation in Organic Agriculture
  • IFOAM 2014 in Istanbul
  • Ecological Farmer's Markets
  • Ecology Trade Fair 2013 in Izmir
  • Turkey's Export of Organic Produce

Some of the topics of the coming second issue are planned to be:

  • Research and Development on Food
  • Transition to Organic Production
  • Fumigation on figs
  • Disease Management in Organic Agriculture
  • Soil Fertility and Sustainability in Organic Agriculture
  • Protecting the Seed and Conserving Biodiversity
  • Animal Husbandry

German and European companies targeting the organic agriculture sector in Turkey are welcome to advertise. Please contact advertising(at)anatoliagrup.com.tr for details.

The German-Turkish Cooperation on Organic Agriculture Project has held 4 workshops for concept creation, pre-launch, launch and post-launch stages. The discussion and outputs have been on topics such as: Table of contents of the first, second and third issues, workplan of the writers and editors, subscriber and advertisement acquisition strategies and action plans, and internal coordination.

Name of Event: Ekoloji ve Tarım Magazine Workshops
Venue:  ETO Office, Mansuroğlu Mah. 288/6; Sokak Bayraklı / İzmir
Date:    19th and 20th December 2012, 5th and 6th of February 2013, 14th to 18th May 2013, 19th July 2013

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A Level Consultants' Training Completed

group of people smilimg into the camera
group of people in an orchard listening to a man

These consultant trainings are making it possible for us to extend the reach of the German-Turkish Bilateral Cooperation Project Organic Agriculture far beyond its scope as we know that the FiBL ETO certificated consultants will now lead for improved organic produce quality by conveying the knowledge and best practices to organic farmers who are the key players of the sector” - Elisabeth Rüegg, Project Coordinator

The second round of 10-Day A Level Consultants' Training was successfully concluded on 5th July with all attendees passing the final exam and receiving their FiBL ETO certificates. Designed especially for fresh graduates from agricultural faculties all over Turkey and for people without a professional record in organic farming, the course served 11 young trainees. The aim was to build capacity of future professionals in organic agriculture and other sustainable agriculture related sectors by giving attendees a strong background in production skills, knowledge, management and decision-making skills.

The course was held by national and international experts combining various teaching formats such as lectures, group studies, case studies, field visits and interviews, and covered these topics:

  • Introduction to organic agriculture
  • Soil fertility, organic nutrient management
  • Composting and green manure
  • Organic animal husbandry, livestock, manure, organic and permitted inputs
  • Organic vegetable growing
  • Cultivation and cropping systems, reduced, zero and minimum tillage
  • Organic pest and weed management
  • Organic textile
  • Organic market, farmers' bazaar
  • Market research
  • Marketing in organic agriculture
  • Control and certification system
  • Risk management
  • Situation of organic farmers, interviews with farmers
  • Project Cycle Management (PCM) and accessing the funds in organic sector

The project plans to organize these consultants' trainings in the future out of Izmir within the region.

Name of Event: Consultant Training Level A: module 1 + 2
Venue:  ETO, Izmir
Date:    24th June – 5th July 2013

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Regional Stakeholder Platform Malatya and Organic Fresh Apricots

man inspecting an apricot
group of people looking at a processing plant

The German-Turkish Bilateral Cooperation Project Organic Agriculture organized an importer/exporter platform in the apricot production centre of Malatya accompanied by an Expert Workshop on fresh organic apricots.

With 3 German importing companies requesting to get in contact with Turkish partners to discuss trade possibilities and quality issues, and Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock (MoFAL) having launched a nationwide campaign on soil protection integrating local Departments of Agriculture including Malatya, the 2 day Regional Platform and Expert Workshop event was set to take place on 12 to 13 June.

The activities were started with on-side visits for the German participants to organic apricot farmers and fresh fruit processing and packing facilities.

Later in the Platform, besides a representative from the MoFAL from Ankara, local partners were the local Department of Agriculture, Deputy District Governor, Government and research institutions, development agencies, farmers organizations, processing and trade companies. Participation was outstanding with 130 local actors from various fields in the sector, learning and discussing on topics such as:

  • The tasks and activities of MoFAL in organic farming
  • Malatya's potential in production, processing and exporting organic apricots
  • The role of agriculture in Malatya's development
  • The application of the TS EN ISO 17020 norms in apricots production and processing
  • Expectations of the trade sector in organic products
  • Success stories

Turkish participants were able to ask questions about the European organic market to the representatives of the German companies and receive answers in the moderated interview session at the end of the day.

Due to the request from the regional Chamber of Agriculture the Expert Workshop which was originally intended only for company representatives was opened for a larger group. More than 30 participants attended the expert lectures of:

  • Apricot cultivation and its specific quality requirements
  • Control and certification of fresh apricots
  • Trade of fresh apricots from Turkey
  • The organic fresh fruit market in Europe
  • Consumer expectations on fresh apricots

The Expert Workshop concluded with an intensive group study of SWOT Analysis where importers and exporters developed a solid basis for cooperation and agreed on solutions such as introducing third party process auditors or common purchasing groups with regards to the weaknesses discussed.

Two of the main success highlights of 2 day event in Malatya was;
Firstly, that the event was initiated by the participating importers who had requested support from the German-Turkish Bilateral Cooperation Project Organic Agriculture
And secondly, that a much wider circle of participants has been reached with national coverage:

Name of Event: Regional Stakeholder Platform Malatya and Expert Workshop XI
Venue:  Congress and Culture, Center & Ramada Altın Kayısı Hotel, Malatya
Date:    12th - 13th June 2013
Participating German Companies: ecofit, Naturkost Weber, Lehmann natur

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Regional Stakeholder Platform Ordu and Organic Hazelnuts

hand holding a hazelnut
two men sitting on a couch talking
man holding a presentation

As 3rd event in series the German-Turkish Bilateral Cooperation Project Organic Agriculture organized a Regional Stakeholder Platform in Ordu (Black Sea) accompanied by an Expert Workshop on organic hazelnuts..

The first day of the 2 day event was the Regional Stakeholder Platform. Local partners were the Deputy District Governor, local agricultural offices, representatives of farmers' organizations, processors, producers, and staff of universities. Over a hundred local actors from various fields in the sector gathered in Ordu for exchanging information on issues such as, organic production, processing and export potential in the Black Sea Region, issues of seasonal workers in hazelnut fields in the Black Sea Region, and child labour prevention.

A very productive Expert Workshop was held on the second day of the event. The main theme was quality issues in the supply chain for organic hazelnuts. The topics discussed were, harvest, post harvest, sampling, analysis, control and certification in organic hazelnuts, traceability, Turkish organic hazelnut on global market, agricultural production, warehousing and processing, exporting and marketing. The participants had actively developed an extensive program of work by the end of the workshop as one of the participants said “This workshop was probably the best one among all the meetings I've attended in my professional life, in terms of knowledge gaining and producing a plan of prioritized next steps. I would like to thank Mr. Atila Ertem and Ms. Elisabeth Rüegg for making the workshop such an experience.”

One of the highlights of the 2 day event was the interviews ETO President Atila Ertem and Project Coordinator Elisabeth Rüegg gave on the local TV and radio station together with Hasan Candan from the Grünn company.

The 2 day event wasn't only successful in terms of information exchange and networking but also in producing solid outcomes. A major outcome for sustainable development of the sector was the decision a group of dedicated eco-farmers made to establish an ETO office in Ordu.

Name of Event: Regional Stakeholder Platform Ordu and Expert Workshop X
Venue:  Culture and Arts Center & Anemon Hotel, Ordu
Date:    28th - 29th May 2013

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„Seeds“ Planted in İzmir Ecology Fair

group of people
group of people

This year’s Ekoloji Fair in İzmir was home to many beginnings taking place with the German-Turkish Bilateral Cooperation Project Organic Agriculture. While The Bilateral Project was represented throughout the exhibition booth of ETO, it left a mark in this year’s fair with two colorful launches.

The first Best Practice Organic Farm 2012 Contest awards were received by winning farmers with a cocktail ceremony. The booth was crowded with over 100 guests who could find the chance to talk to the proud organic farmers and network while enjoying delicious organic treats. The German-Turkish Bilateral Cooperation Project Organic Agriculture was very active in Fair’s Conference to make it most effective for the stakeholders and therefore, arranged for the winning farmers to present their initiatives and give producers‘ perspective to the audience while also answering questions. The Best Practice Organic Farms were selected by a jury, according to in depth assesments of conformity to organic agriculture regulations and on-site evaluations.

Turkey’s first ecological agriculture magazine "Ekoloji ve Tarım" was also launched during this year’s Ekoloji Fair in İzmir with support of the German-Turkish Bilateral Cooperation Project Organic Agriculture. As Peter Brul, Editor-in-Chief of Ecology and Farming Magazine, puts it, the magazine is a very important step towards cumulating technical information for the organic sector in an organized and up-to-date fashion. Peter Brul and Emre Bilen, Co-Editor of Ekoloji ve Tarım Magazine, introduced the eco-magazine to a broad interested audience at the Fair Conference and received all feedback for development on future issues. The audience received the magazine with great interest. The Ekoloji ve Tarım Magazine will continue as a quarterly magazine targeting all stakeholders of the sector.

Name of Event: Best Practice Organic Farm 2012 Contest, Eco Magazine „Ekoloji ve Tarım“ launch, Multi-stakeholder Conference at İzmir „Ekoloji“ Fair
Venue:
  İzmir
Date:    16th and 19th May 2013

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Organic Marketing Pro’s in the GAP Project

GAP logo
group of people listening to a presentation

The German-Turkish Bilateral Cooperation Project Organic Agriculture is happy to announce that its tailor made marketing course especially designed to suit the needs of the Southeastern Anatolia Project (GAP) region’s needs, has successfully ended.

Southeastern Anatolia Project (GAP) Regional Development Administration is carrying out an organic agriculture development project, for which they cooperated with the German-Turkish Bilateral Cooperation Project and ETO for organizing the GAP Marketing Course while they provided full funds.

The comprehensive 2 day training targeted producers, cooperatives, companies and institutions that operated in the field of organic production in cities of the GAP region. With highly experienced lecturers from the sector and the academy, the course trained 23 attendees. One of them said, “The GAP Marketing Training did not only teach us principles of marketing, they also combined it with our region and taught us how to apply the knowledge to our own marketing plan, build marketing strategies and use it to get results for our business operating in GAP region.”

All trainees passed the final written test and received their FiBL-ETO quality certified certificates at the end of the course in which the following topics were taught:

  • Organic concept and quality
  • Principles of marketing, strategy development
  • National and International marketing channels for organic products
  • A successful model in organic production and marketing: Co-ops
  • Group studies on olive oil, fresh fruits and vegetables, cereals and pulses, and cotton
  • Quality expectations towards organic products
  • Economical analysis of marketing
  • Branding and labelling
  • Customer and consumer expectations on a local, national and international level
  • Reaching out to consumers through local organic markets
  • Case study, a successful model on production, branding and marketing
  • Marketing on organic cotton

Atila Ertem, President of ETO and one of the lecturers in the training, said, “In an era where organic agriculture is rising at an accelerated pace in Turkey, the way to stand out in the competition will be through marketing, a key skill every organic business owner should acquire. With this training we gave our participants an introduction of how marketing activities can be realized with regards to GAP region in specific.”

Name of Event: GAP Marketing Training Course (Expert Workshop VIII)
Venue:  Izmir
Date:    14th - 15th May 2013

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Regional Stakeholder Platform Çanakkale and Frozen Organic Products(IQF)

two women one man sitting in conference chairs listening
four men sitting at the head of a conference table

The German-Turkish Bilateral Cooperation Project Organic Agriculture organized a series of stakeholder platforms on a regional level upon seeing the demand from the sector. The aim is to provide regional initatives the best opportunity to exchange information, improve technical know-how in the supply chains for organic products andmotivate local institutions to continue similar events. The gathering in Çanakkale between 29-30 April 2013 was the first of the series of regional platform events.

On the first day of the event, with attendance of over 70 people from various fields and local partners of Deputy District Governor, producers, professionals and academics, the Regional Platform Çanakkale proved to be very much longed for. The platform held very effective sessions where stakeholders could discuss topics of, the potential Çanakkale offers in terms of organic production, processing and exporting, quality in organic agriculture in Çanakkale, and success stories. The platform also allowed some initiatives to be presented to a wider public for the first time.

On the second day of the event an  Expert Workshop was held on frozen goods. Professional experts allowed the participants to get a good insight view of this specific sector, which is growing steadily especially in the region of Canakkale. Frozen products are widely used in the organic industry in Europe, i.e. in fruit concentrates for yogurts and beverages. Participants had a rare chance to not only build on their knowledge but also leave the workshop with a work plan in their agendas. The topics covered in the workshop were:

  • Control and certification in frozen foods
  • Turkey's production potential and processing techniques in frozen food
  • Sales and marketing in frozen food
  • Quality expectations and requirements of exporters in frozen food
  • Total Quality Management in frozen food
  • SWOT Analysis and Roadmap working groups

The German-Turkish Bilateral Cooperation Project Organic Agriculture is very happy with the results of the first Regional Stakeholder Platform, which was organized in close cooperation with the local ETO branch in Canakkale. Such events are planned to continue as the partnerships with regional initatives make it a very promising sustainable channel for development in the organic sector.

Name of Event: Regional Platform Meeting Çanakkale and Expert Workshop VII
Venue:  Trade Exchange, Çanakkale
Date:    29th - 30th April 2013

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Success Factors of MoFAL Funded Organic Projects

group of people sitting at a round table talking
group of people visiting a farm with cows

A 3 days workshop was organized by the Turkish-German Bilateral Project
Organic Agriculture to bring agricultural directorates from all over the country together for discussing organic projects initiated and supervised by them in their region. It was the first time that such a meeting has taken place with the support and participation of MoFAL (Turkish Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Animal husbandry). Organic projects under MoFAL's responsibility are presently implemented in 41 provinces in Turkey and 15 TAGEM research institutions are working in the organic sector at the same time. The workshop was also attended by the state owned Çaykur company and by representatives of GAP (Southeastern Anatolia Project.

With attendance of 30 participants from 21 provincial agricultural directorates in Turkey, the workshop, which was held on 25 to 28 March, received high attention and provided for an excellent opportunity of exchange of information and knowhow. Among others, the following subjects were discussed on a high professional level:

  • Qualitative requirements of organic smallholder projects
  • Planning, organization and administration of smallholder projects with practical exercises
  • Economics of smallholder projects
  • Marketing with practical exercises
  • Identification of best-practice examples

The sessions of lectures and discussions were followed by working groups.
The wrap up and discussion of the workshop outcomes by Gerald Herrmann, Director at Organic Services GmbH, was exceptionally beneficial for the attendees to leave the event with all key take-aways absorbed well for their future reference.

Participants also made a visit to the organic farm in Kuşadası, owned by Gürsel Tonbul, one of the winners of 2012 Best Practice Organic Farm Contest as part of the workshop program. Gürsel Tonbul's farm of 15 ha of fruit, vegetables and animals, is a fine example of a local organic production marketed successfully under a local brand. Participants had the chance to ask questions to Gürsel Tonbul directly and gained invaluable insights.

Name of Event:
Government Workshop
Venue:  Özdere Gümüldür, İzmir
Date:    25th - 28th March 2013

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Consultant Course - Professional

Venue:  to be announced
Date:    January 2013  (2 Days) / March 2013 (2 Days)

Content:

  • Personal management
    Personal development/ consultancy profile
    Person and time management
    Communication Skills
    Information Management
  • Simplification Techniques
    GPS surface control
    Presentation techniques
    Report writing
  • Project Management
    Development of purpose and strategies
    Design of consultancy transactions
    Communication ways/ customer relations
    Consultancy and accompanying groups
    Project management/ Project Consultation
    Cost analysis & budgeting

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Consultants of GAP Project trained by The German-Turkish Bilateral Cooperation

GAP logo
people at a conference table
group of people in front of a greenhouse

Southeastern Anatolia Project (GAP) Regional Development Administration chose the German-Turkish Bilateral Cooperation Project Organic Agriculture and ETO for training their trainers for the GAP Organic Agriculture Project.

The 11 day training was designed and organized by ETO with supervision of the Bilateral Cooperation Project, and fully funded by the GAP Organic Agriculture Project. The program was designed both to enhance participants’ know how on all aspects of organic production and to introduce them to training techniques and surrounding necessary soft skills.

Participants left the training with full confidence about their future tasks to train stakeholders in villages, districts and cities in the GAP Region as one participant said “I couldn’t have gained this much of know how by reading even the best written books for eleven days. But with this 11 day course I started to feel I’m on top of issues regarding organic farming. We had farm excursions and practical inspection trainings which is invaluable for me right now”

Some of the modules of this intensive training are:

  • Organic farming regulations and policies
  • Transition to organic agriculture
  • Certification process, traceability
  • Risk Management
  • Total Quality
  • Organic goods production and protection
  • Soil fertility
  • Organic animal husbandry
  • Organic Harvest processing, storage and transportation
  • Marketing and branding
  • Eco Villages and Eco Tourism
  • Consulting practice
  • Soft skills development (Time and Business Management, Communication, Reporting, presentation, etc.)

1 veterinarian and 22 agricultural engineer attendees received their FiBL-ETO certificates as trained consultants upon successfully completion of the exam at the end of the training.

Name of Event: GAP Consultant Training Course (Advanced B Level)
Venue:  Izmir
Date:    21st January - 1st February 2013

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Control Bodies Workshop - Risk Assessment in Organic Control and Certification

Venue:  Eto Office /Izmir
Date:    15th March 2012

Speakers:

  • Atila Ertem(ETO president and project senior expert)
  • Elisabeth Rüegg(Project coordinator)
  • Paul Van den Berge(FİBL senior expert)
  • Dr.Ozlem Karahan Uysal (Ege University,Department of Agriculture Economics)
  • Levent Alışır (IMO Control Ltd - Organic consultant)
  • Burçin Keminoglu (IMO Control Ltd - Organic consultant)


Participants:

  • T.C Ministry of Food ,Agricultural and Livestock Ankara Province Directorate
  • Control Union Turkey
  • IMO-Control Certification Ltd. Sti.
  • KALITEST Certification and Training Services Co.Ltd.
  • ECOCERT -Control and Certification Ltd. Sti.
  • ANADOLU- Control and Certification Ltd. Sti.
  • ETKO- Control and Certification Ltd. Sti.
  • EGE UNİVERSİTY, Agricultural Faculty, Department of Agricultural Economics
  • CERES-Control Certification Ltd. Sti.

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Importer-Exporter Platform, Ordu

Venue:  Anemon Ordu Hotel / Ordu
Date:    10.10.2012 - 11.10.2012

Speakers: -

Importers: -

Exporters: -

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Importer-Exporter Platform, Izmir

Venue:  Aegean Exporters Union
Date:    28.09.2012 - 29.09.2012

Speakers: -

Importers: -

Exporters: -

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Importer-Exporter Platform, Malatya

Venue:  Anemon Malatya Hotel / Malatya
Date:    19.06.2012 - 22.06.2012

Speakers:

  • Atila Ertem(ETO president and project senior expert)
  • Elisabeth Rüegg(Project coordinator)


Importers:

  • Henry Lamotte Food GmbH
  • Dry Fruit
  • Marbacher Ölmühle GmbH
  • WALA Heilmittel GmbH
  • Rapunzel Naturkost GmbH
  • Worlée NaturProdukte GmbH


Exporters:

  • Nimeks Organic
  • Arkoz Food Import And Export Co.Ltd
  • Vesta Agricultural Products, Industry And Trade Inc.
  • Kırıcı Foreign Trade INC
  • Demeter Organic Agriculture Products Ltd
  • Ber Food agriculturel Products , Industry And Trade Ltd
  • Akbaş Food Industry And Foreign Trade Co.
  • Rapunzel Organic Agricultural Products and Food Co. Ltd.
  • Özkırıcı Foreign Trade INC

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Consultant Course - Advanced

Venue:  Internatıonal Agriculturel Research and Training Center (UTAEM) / Izmir
Date:    01-05.10.2012 (5 Days) / 05-09.11.2012 (5 Days)

Content:

  • Actual Techniques
    Understanding main and significant principles of organic agriculture
    Legal features of organic agriculture
    Information on principal organic products in Turkey
    Information about transforming a farm to organic agriculture area
    Participants will earn basic management skills.

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Consultant Course - Basic

Venue:  Eto Office /Izmir
Date:    06.09.2012 - 17.09.2012

Content:

  • Vision, Mission & Value
    Introduction to Organic Life Concept
    Understanding main principles of organic agriculture
    A general outlook of cultivation techniques like control of weed and pests for principal products.
    Marketing of organic products and understanding general information on economic frame conditions. 
    General information on organic control and certification systems including risk management

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