22 Aralık 2014
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Organic fields await original ideas

Growing parallel to the world, the organics field in Turkey offers investment opportunities from textiles to toys. The success lies in offering alternatives to already existing products


Stuffed leaves, purple basil, lentils, mussels, lip balm, or a t-shirt… Organic farming, which today has become a $20 billion market in the world, provides investors with possibilities not only in terms of herbal products but also in a wide variety of fields. The fast growing sector in Turkey offers job opportunities in production, in trade for import-export, distribution, and marketing, as a farmer under contract and as a supplier. Becoming increasingly popular across the world, organic farming is practiced by 623,000 producers in 120 countries as of 2006. When it first began in Turkey in 1996, it was only practiced in İzmir with eight products being produced but now 200 different products are grown in 50 cities. The Turkish organic farming market has grown by 30 percent in the past 10 years since its initiation while exports have reached $100 million and the domestic market has grown to $20 million. The number of people who work in the field has reached 15,000. Selçuk Uysal, the founder of Ekoloji Markets, is one of these producers. Having seen the opportunity in the organic produce sector, Uysal started production in 2000 with organic fruit juices and spices. Now, he is active in the market with nearly 120 different products, ranging from grains to pasta, spices to fruits and tomato paste. Uysal does not produce all of these but has a supply web of six contract producers from the Southeast and the Black Sea regions.

Wise to invest in organic farming:

Recommending that investors who want to enter the market steer toward new and different products instead of already existing products, Uysal said, "I advise that they produce processed food with added value such as tomato paste, pasta and even stuffed leaves. They do not have to produce all of these themselves. They can establish good communication with contract producers and can steer them toward products that the market has need for." He has another suggestion for producers regarding the return of capital investment. "In the beginning, it would suffice to enter the market with a minimum of 5 tons of production on 2.5 acres. But if you have the capital enter the organics market as it would yield returns on your capital in three years," Uysal said, adding that it takes a period of three years to attain an organic produce certificate. Of course, being an organic produce supplier is not enough to find a place in the market. Explaining that in order to have ones products on the shelves, one needs to contact sales points and to introduce the products, Uysal says, "I went door to door, explaining myself and my products. I met with organic products stores, herbalists and markets. Once you establish this communication, the sales web starts forming by itself."

It made cosmetics import easier:

Nesrin Barlas operates in the organic cosmetics sector. Importing the German brand Logana, Barlas says, "There is no organic cosmetics production in Turkey. I started importing in the 1990s. I am now active in the market with 300 products. The full potential of the organic cosmetics sector has not been realized yet. Now importing is much easier. Entrepreneurs should take advantage of this market. But they should make sure to import certified products." The textile sector is also trying to grab a piece of the organic products pie. Having created the Istnblorganics brand name two months ago, Yasemin Uçar attained her first production at the beginning of this year. An investment of $15,000-20,000 would be enough to start in organic textiles production says Uçar, adding, "Entrepreneurs can start initial production, form a brand and a logo with this much capital. They can start making a profit in a year, depending on the ties they establish."