This page features a compilation and selection of Turkish seed industry news briefs, summaries and leads, with an emphasis on events that impact or affect provinces, regions, counties, cities and locales in Türkiye Cumhuriyeti, or as it is known in English: the Republic of Turkey.
The news covers trends and events regarding seed regulation, testing, legislation, phytosanitary issues, intellectual property rights, biotechnology (genomics, gene-editing) plant breeding, agronomy and cropping, with original sources linked.
This page will be updated throughout the year, with most recent briefs listed first.
Turkey now a net seed exporter: December 28: The Turkish seed industry has increased its production 8-fold in the last 20 years, according to Hacı Ömer Güler, a member of the Turkish Seed Association (TÜRKTOB), resulting in the country becoming a net seed exporter with USD 190 million in exports compared to USD 170 million in imports in 2020. However, Mr. Güler went on to state that shortfalls still existed in certain key crops including potatoes, sunflowers, corn, and beets and that intensive efforts were in place to reduce these. Original story in Turkish here.
TYAB Chairman calls for fairer contracts: December 2: According to a statement by Hacı Ömer Güler, Chairman of the Seed Growers Sub-Association (TYAB) and member of the Turkish Seed Growers Association (TÜRKTOB), farmers are struggling with rising input costs, drought, and the one-sided unilateral contracts of local and international monopolies forcing some farmers to sell at a loss. He called for "contracts for 2022 be made by taking into account the current conditions, the prices formed in the stock market and the parameters affecting the pricing, and the statement that the TÜRKTOB Arbitration Board should be authorized for the resolution of disputes." Original story in Turkish here.
Certified wheat seeds sales decrease: November 29: According to Turkish Seed Association (TÜRKTOB) Vice President Savaş Akcan, the use of certified wheat seeds has decreased by 30 percent. Speaking at the Growtech Fair, Mr. Akcan stated that due to rapid price changes, farmers could not be sure of input costs or what the selling price would be at harvest. Price uncertainty is also driving farmers towards corn and sunflower. To aid farmers, Mr. Akcan proposed that the price of the harvested product should be set before planting. Read original story in Turkish here.
Turkey Online Seed Fair 2021: The Turkish Seed Industries Association (TURKTED) organized its 2021 Online Seed Fair from 11 - 13 November 2021. This virtual seed fair was held in lieu of the annual physical fair, which provides great opportunities for seed and seed technology companies in Turkey and around the world to display their products and easily communicate and do business with one another. As a supporting organization, FAO Turkey showcased its work related to seeds and genetic resources. Other participants of the fair included seed firms, companies of seed preparation machinery and equipment, producers of plant protection products, producers of seed coating materials and fertilizers, as well as NGOs and public institutions. For more information, see promo video here and fair webpage here.
Turkish NPPO evaluates seed phyto measure feedback: APSA on October 20 received official confirmation Turkey’s Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry that industry feedback on emergency phytosanitary measures (as covered in SPS Notifications G/SPS/N/TUR/119 and G/SPS/N/TUR/119/Add.1) is under evaluation. The feedback was provided in the form of consultative comments outlined in a September 28 letter based on input from APSA’s Standing Committee for International Trade and Quarantine and signed by APSA Executive Director Dr. Kanokwan Chodchoey. After thanking the Turkish government for extending the effective date of new requirements for tomato and pepper seeds by two months -- from 15 September to 15 November, and for the removal of initially announced requirements for Cucurbita pepo seeds -- the letter outlined several additional points for further consideration: The first highlighted that Tomato apical stunt viroid (TASVd), which is one of the pests regulated in the aforementioned measures, is not known to be associated with Capsicum seeds, citing the ISF’s regulated pest list, as well as Pest Risk Analyses (PRAs) conducted by the NPPOs of Australia (2021) and New Zealand (2012). The second point requested for the new measures for tomato and pepper to be reassessed to ensure there are no redundancies and are in accordance with the relevant ISPMs. The third point included a request to accommodate testing of seed -- which had already been harvested but sourced from a country where the pathogens cited in the notification are present -- as an effective measure to facilitate the safe trade of that seed. Acknowledging receipt of the feedback in an October 20 email, Tugba Adiguzel Kargin (General Directorate of EU and Foreign Relations The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry of Turkey) stated that “Studies regarding the Plant Quarantine Regulation covering viruses and viroids continue,” adding that comments would be evaluated within the scope of legislative study.”
Emergency phyto measures for tomato & pepper seed imports update: September 14: Turkey’s General Directorate of Food and Control of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry on September 14 announced an update to new phytosanitary import requirements previously announced for seeds of tomato, pepper and pumpkin. According to the latest notification made through the World Trade Organization’s Committee on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (G/SPS/N/TUR/119/Add.1) on September 14, “The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has amended import requirements for tomato (Solanum lycopersicum), pepper (Capsicum spp.) and pumpkin seeds (Cucurbita pepo) from all countries into Turkey and notified these measures through G/SPS/N/TUR/119. . .” The initial (August 10) notification stipulated that the measures were to be effective from 15 September, and required for an additional declaration to be made on the Phytosanitary Certificate about the seeds’ origin, whether or not the production area is known to have a presence of certain pathogens, in addition to requiring an RT-PCR assay certifying the seeds as free from those pathogens. Five pathogens of concern for tomato seeds are Tomato mottle mosaic virus (ToMMV), Tomato apical stunt viroid (TASVd), Columnea latent viroid (CLVd), Pepper chat fruit viroid (PCFVd) and Tomato chlorotic dwarf viroid (TCDVd); three for pepper (Capsicum annum.) seeds: ToMMV, TASVd and PCFVd; and one for pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo) seeds: Tomato leaf curl New Delhi virus (ToLCNDV). However, “as a result of evaluation of opinions, certain amendments have been made regarding the measures. . .” The latest notification adds clarity that RT-PCR would not be required if the seeds originate from a country in which the respective pathogens are not known to occur and such is stated on the additional declaration. Moreover the effective date for import requirements for tomato and pepper seeds (that originate in countries where the pathogens are known to occur) has been extended to November 15, while requirements initially announced for pumpkin seeds “will not be requested until a new SPS notification is made”.
Flooding, fires ravage cropland: Rain-induced flooding and mudslides has devastated infrastructure, farms and communities the Black Sea coastal provinces of Bartin, Kastamonu, Sinop and Samsun, where floodwaters have risen three to four meters high. Moreover, hundreds of wildfires have ravaged lands elsewhere in the country since the end of July. More details here.
Turkish govt mulls further lockdown: July 28: Turkey’s eatery industry and restaurants are reportedly calling for the government to consider ‘stricter measures’ to allow their businesses to continue to operate should renewed restrictions be imposed in response to the resurgence of Covid cases. For the past 18 months, restaurants and cafes across the country had been either closed or opened for limited hours and services, which has been costly to business. The chair of the Turkish Restaurant and Entertainment Association (TURYİD) has thus proposed for the government to allow those who had been inoculated with two doses of vaccine to go into restaurants, cafes, indoor sports facilities, movie theaters and concerts starting Sept. 1. According to the article, It is estimated that the livelihood of some 2 million families is dependent on the eatery sector. Daily ase numbers in the final week of July returned to their highest levels since early May, nearing 20,000.
The spike came after the government removed almost all coronavirus restrictions in a “normalization” scheme starting July 1, which followed a 17-day full lockdown and months of nighttime and weekend curfews. For more details on what has been closed or restricted in the previous lockdowns, see here.
Turkish cropping suffers from drought: July 14: A dearth of rainfall and “excessive use of underground water” over the past year has led to a drought in the Konya Plain, which is an important agricultural zone for Turkey. Wheat output has declined by at least 30 per cent, since the harvest started in July in the Central Anatolian province of Konya, which has had a knock-on effect on flour, wheat and animal feed prices. According to a July 1 report, the drought has has also taken a toll on the levels of the Lake Van basin, which is an important water source for agriculture and animal husbandry in the region. According to another report on July 8, Turkey was projected to increase its wheat imports during the 2021-22 period by 1.25mn tonnes over the previous year to 10.25mn t.
Seed growers sub-union chair appeals for support, drought relief: May 22: Chairman of the Seed Growers Sub-Union (TYAB) of Turkish Seed Union (TÜRKTOB), Hacı Ömer Güler, recently appealed to the Turkish Grain Board to provide support for seed producers affected by drought and to prevent high food prices. To support farmers he urged the government to reduce the cost of raw materials as farmers were struggling to turn a profit. "Believe me, the drought is being felt deeply in many regions of Turkey at the moment. There is a very deep drought, especially in the Southeastern Anatolia Region and also in the Eastern Anatolia Region. As the harvest accelerates in the Central Anatolia Region, we will see losses in production. Some regions have 80% yield losses and some 100% yield losses," said Güler. Original story in Turkish here
Domestic sunflower seed production: May 11: A joint project by the Trakya Agricultural Research Institute and two companies in Tekirdağ and Edirne has been launched to develop two hybrid sunflower seeds. The project aims to develop local sunflower seeds to reduce the burden of expensive imported sunflower seeds for local farmers. Chairman of Trakya Seeders Association, İbrahim Toruk, told reporters that the hybrid seeds differ from other seeds in terms of yield, quality, resistance to disease and environmental conditions. "We think that these seeds will increase their competitiveness in the international market as well as being offered to the use of farmers in Turkey." Original story in Turkish here. Another trial involving 8 different types of local sunflower seeds was also launched at the Silivri Municipality Agricultural Production and Research Center Seed in cooperation with Silivri Municipality. More details in Turkish here
Turktob sub unions meet to discuss current challenges: April 21: Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Plant Breeders Sub-Union (BİSAB) and Vice Chairman of the Board of Turkey Seed Growers Association (TÜRKTOB), Vehbi Eser, recently hosted a meeting of TÜRKTOB sub-unions to discuss the various challenges facing the Turkish seed industry. Topics included the effects of climate change on agricultural and seed production; the effect of diseases and pests on yields; the impact of the global pandemic on the seed industry; developments in the international seed trade; projects planned to be carried out in cooperation with the member countries of the Economic Cooperation Countries Seed Association (ECOSA); grants from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry; revisions to seed production legislation; the protection of intellectual property rights and the increase in certified seed production as well as competition from China and India. Original story in Turkish here
Ag mechanization equipment procured in Bitlis: April 23: Details about a new project to support farmers by improving the infrastructure of crop production and to establish a machinery and equipment park in Ahlat and Güroymak districts of Bitlis province. As revealed in media by the Provincial Directorate of Agriculture and Forestry support to the tune of TRY 354,000 ($43,000) was provided to the Chamber of Agriculture and the Water Buffalo Breeders Union to procure solid fertilizing, bean harvesting and seeding machines, which were delivered to the Ahlat Chamber of Agriculture and the Buffalo Breeders Union in Ahlat and Güroymak districts. Farmers will be able to rent the purchased machines at discounted rates. Bitlis is a province where agriculture and livestock are mainstays; Some 56,000 tonnes of cereal is produced across 350,000 decares, and it is also a leading bean supplier. This year there are plans to produce certified seed, and it is estimated that the machinery in only 10-15 minutes will be able to match the labor of 100 workers working 5 decares per day. More details in Turkish in original story here.
Taşköprü garlic gets GI protection in the EU: April 19: The famed white garlic produced in the Taşköprü district of Kastamonu is now registered and granted Geographic Indication (GI) protection in the European Union. The registration process reportedly began in 2017, initiated by the Taşköprü Municipality. And though progress was halted in December, the registration process has recently concluded. European Union (EU). See more details in Turkish here.
Certified seed support for Bingol farmers: April 14: Seeds for dry beans and chickpeas with a 75% subsidy were recently distributed to farmers in Bingöl. The distribution is part of the latest efforts by the Provincial Directorate of Agriculture and Forestry to increase vegetable production and bring idle lands to agriculture within the scope of the "Activation of Agricultural Lands" project. In this context, the "Increasing Dry Beans and Chickpea Growing" project was put into effect, seeing distribution of a total of nine 9.7 tonnes of dry beans, and 22.6 tonnes of chickpea seeds with 75% grant to the farmers. With the distributed seeds, it is aimed to increase the use of certified seeds and to convert a total of 2,600 decares of idle land into productive agriculture land. More details here.
Ministry of Agriculture issues potato, onion and paddy procurement direction: April 12: The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has announced an initiative to purchase from producers potatoes and dried onions, which have been in surplus. According to a statement by the Ministry on the subject, due to the pandemic situation, consumption of potatoes and onions has decreased in both domestic and foreign markets “due to the shrinkage in demand in collective consumption places such as hotels and restaurants'' resulting in swollen stocks and falling prices. According to the statement, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan instructed the “Turkish Grain Board” to purchase potatoes and onion from producers and distribute them to needy citizens through 81 provincial governorates, starting on April 10 and 11. Similarly, paddy prices have also reportedly suffered from reduced demand and consumption, domestically and internationally, the statement says. Therefore, in order to prevent a decrease in paddy production in the coming season, TMO purchase prices were revised upwards. It was reported that there was a total of 300,000 tonnes of potatoes, 40,000 tonnes of onion and 75,000 tonnes of paddy on reserve “that could not be traded " Details in Turkish here.
Seed sieving and disinfection facility in Çorum: April 10: Plans to build a new seed sieving and disinfection facility for the Çorum Chamber of Agriculture were announced by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. The facility, which has received a 70% grant, will be constructed with a a budget of TRY 4 million ($487,684). Çorum province, which is a production hub for chickpeas, has reportedly received agricultural aid from the government to the tune of TRY 350 million ($42.7 mn), which includes aid in the form of diesel fertilizer support, seed and fertilizer subsidies. More details here.
Minister of Agriculture praises Gaziantep ag sector: April 6: Presiding over the opening of the 12th GAPTARIM-Agriculture, Agricultural Technologies and Livestock Fair in Gaziantep. Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Dr. Bekir Pakdemirli lauded Gaziantep's contribution to the agricultural sector and its contribution to the nation. He noted that last year, the total value of agricultural production in Gaziantep surged a record 78%, and that 13% of Turkey’s food and agricultural products for export came from the province. Moreover, he noted that vegetable production increased by 9 million tonnes to 126 million tonnes. More details in Turkish here.
Forage seed distribution in Adana: April 5: Within the scope of the "Meadow Pasture Improvement and Management Project", the distribution of donated seeds commenced in Adana, including in Aladağ, Ceyhan, Feke, İmamoğlu, Karaisalı, Kozan, Sarıçam, Tufanbeyli, Yumurtalık and Yüreğir districts, where a total of 19 tons of silage corn, feed soy, alfalfa and vetch seeds were supplied and distributed. In addition, a total of 23 tons of Italian grass, clover, vetch and sainfoin seeds are planned to be distributed in September for autumn season sowing. More details in Turkish news here.
Additional Declaration for tomato, capsicum seed import requirement amended: As of January 31, consignments of pepper (Capsicum sp) and tomato seeds imported into Turkey must meet newly amended “additional declaration” requirements in pursuant to various criteria related to the variety’s resistance to Tomato Brown Rugose Fruit Virus (ToBRFV), and respective origin and testing certification requirements. Emergency amendments were made by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry of the Republic of Turkey for tomato and capsicum in order to prevent the introduction into and the spread within Turkey of Tomato brown rugose fruit virus (ToBRFV). For full details on the criteria and requirements, see notice document on WTO website here.
Nevşehir Governor visits seed potato factory: January 2021:
The governor of Nevşehir İnci Sezer Becel recently toured and inspected the Gülşehir factory, R&D center and underground warehouse of Doğa Tohumculuk, a prominent seed potato production and research company.. More details in Turkish here.
Seed services regulation amended: January 2021:
The "Seed Production Regulation on the Amendment of Authority Transfer Regulation in Services” or “Regulation Amending the Authority Transfer Regulation in Seed Services” [auto translation] has came into force after being published in the Official Gazette on 13 January. The amended regulation is concerned with the fees related to the work and transactions of seed service providers and respective authorities, particularly with regard to electronic means. Read details in Turkish here.
Ag investments in Karacabey blooming: December 2020:
Investments continue to grow in Karacabey, which is attracting foreign and domestic industry interest due to its rich and fertile agriculture lands. While these efforts of Karacabey Municipality, which has undertaken important works in order to attract agricultural industrial enterprises to the district, bear fruit, after the decision of Japanese and Lebanese seed companies to invest, local firm, CMC Agro Tohumculuk has also decided to invest. More details in Turkish here.
Industry association to bolster Trakya region seed sector: December 2020:
Trakya Tohum A.Ş., which was established last year to fortify cooperation amongst various seed sector entities, institutions and organizations in the Thrace Region, plans to invest 13 million lira ($1.65 million), starting in 2021, to bolster seed R&D, trade and production activities in the Thrace region. The organization, according to this Turkish article, was established last year and is currently operating with the seed capital from 39 different legal entities. Supported by the Thrace Development Agency and Ministry of Industry and Technology, the entity was founded within the scope of the National Hybrid Seed Development Project.
Leading Turkish seed firm increases R&D budget: December 2020:
May Seed, which reportedly allocates 9 percent of its annual turnover towards R&D, determined that its R&D budget for the 2020-2021 season to be 24 million lira (about US$3 million). According to this article in Turkish, the company’s R&D activities will focus on increasing productivity, and breeding for climate resilience, (tolerance of and/or resistance to) drought and diseases. The firm business scope spans to more than 40 countries. In the above article, a chairman, Hamdi Çiftçiler revealed that the company’s expenditures in the 2019-2020 season were about 22.5mn Lirah.
Turkey domestic seed industry flourishing, touts minister: September 2020:
Bekir Pakdemirli, the Turkish Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, lauded the domestic seed industry during remarks at the award ceremony for the 11th "Agriculture, Forest and Human Photography Contest", which was held in September via video conference. On the topic of seed production the Minister said that Turkey had the world's 3rd largest seed-gene bank [sic], which is in Ankara. He noted that 96% of the certified amount of seed used in Turkey is native, while 94 percent was produced by Turkish firms. He noted that in 18 years, the value of seed exports rose from US$17 million to $150mn. Read more here in Turkish.
Amendment to Seed Authorization and Supervision Regulation
Amendments have been made to Turkey’s regulation concerning Authorization and Supervision in the Seed Sector, which lays down the principles for the authorization of legal entities who grow and sell seeds in Turkey. All the new amendments are listed in detail here in Turksih language. According to this article in Turkish news, a number of changes were made to the regulation. Among them concern the “farmer registration system”; now seedling producers may register under the greenhouse registration system or agricultural production registration system. Beyond this , changes are concerned with the procedures and jurisdictions for applications and issuing of documents, including certification and authorization for breeders, producers and processors. Furthermore, the amendments address regulations for seedling technology and equipment and the issuance of ornamental plant producer certificates for forest engineers; procedures for issuance of tissue culture, seed producer documents and certificates, as well as provisions for auditing and administrative sanctions.
The rise of domestic seed sector
A writer of Turkish news website Hurriyet.com, Hasan Bozbey, has penned an editorial highlighting the push in Turkey to boost domestic seed production. He writes about how one Turkish chemical company has refurbished an old textile factory in Orhangazi, repurposing it for seed production and/or processing, noting the new operations will involve local seed production on an area of 60 hectares. He then goes on to highlight other steps taken to boost domestic seed sector in recent years, citing growth figures in Turkish Domestic seed production since 2018, and recapped a project announced in February by the Minister of Agriculture and Livestock, which will involve establishing new testing and breeding laboratories, and the training of 15,000 seed producers over the course of two years.
Turktob chairman rallies domestic seed sector to prevail in ‘covid war’
Chairman of the Board of Directors of Turkey Seed Union (TÜRKTOB) and the Economic Cooperation Organization Seed Association (ECOSA) Savaş Akcan has advocated to strengthen and reinforce the Turkish seed industry. Featured in interviews with Turkish news outlets in April, the Turktob chairman highlighted the necessity to continue to be more self-sufficient in seed production at a time when much international trade has been slowed or halted. Reiterating that the Turkish seed sector provides employment to hundreds of thousands, and stands to lose millions this year from loss in exports, he goes on to relay details about relief and grant programs being implemented at this time. His interviews in Turkish language can be found here on Antalya Son Haber, as well as on Milliet.com, here and here.
DECEMBER 2019 & JANUARY 2020
TURKTOB holds 12th OGM
TURKTOB (Turkey Seed Growers Association) Turkey Seed Growers Association held their 12th Ordinary General Meeting in Ankara on December 21, 2019. Presided over by General Manager of the General Directorate of Agricultural Research and Policies Mr. Özkan Kayacan, Dr. Suat Yilmaz, Deputy General Manager of Crop Production, Head of Nursery and Seed Affairs Department of General Directorate of Forestry, Fahrettin Ay, Chairman and members of the Board of Directors of TÜRKTOB and Sub-Associations. Me Savaş Akcan Turktob President and Chairman of of Organization for Economic Cooperation Countries (ECOSA) gave an opening speech highlighting the strengths of the Turkish seed industry, which he said is represented via the association by some 53,500 members (entities)
ISF Eyes Istanbul for 2023 World Seed Congress
At the national congress of the Turkish Seed Federation (TSUAB) on 16 December 2019, the International Seed Federation revealed that it was considering holding the 2023 World Seed Congress in Istanbul in collaboration with TSUAB and Turkted, Turkish Seed Industry Association) 2023 will be a symbolic and significant year for the global seed industry, as it will mark the 99th anniversary of ISF and the 100th anniversary of the Turkish Republic.
All about the Turkey seed industry
Aydinlik.com.tr has published an article revealing various facts and statistics about the Turkish seed industry, as originally presented at the 2nd International Agricultural and Food Ethics Congress in Izmir last October. According to the data, Turkey seed trade is worth some $4 billion, while the foreign traded seed is valued at $500 million, including $260mn in exports and $240mn in imports. As for quantities cited, the country produced 1,060,000 tons of certified seeds, in addition to 4 billion seedlings, 1.7bn ornamental plants and 188.7mn saplings. The article provides data and information about the Turkey Seed Growers Association, and legal references concerning farmers rights (seed saving), as well as GMO and hybrid seeds.
Leading Turkish seed breeding firm link up with agri-tech university to boost R&D
Bursa haber news reports that the R&D Department of leading Turkish seed company, May Seeds (May Tohum) is linking up with the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences and Technologies at Omar Halisdemir University to develop training modules to enhance knowledge and equipment capacity related to basic genetics and plant breeding for young technicians and agricultural engineers working with the company and studying in the faculty.