The Turkey Project
The Turkey Project is the oldest and most comprehensive RAPUNZEL project. The foundation for an organic farming project in Turkey was laid in 1985. At first, only figs and sultanas were exported to Germany but with time more and more farmers became interested in the cooperation with RAPUNZEL and the exported amounts as well as the number of different organic products grew. In 1991 RAPUNZEL opened a consultancy in the city of Izmir that turned into a subsidiary company, RAPUNZEL Organic Ltd., in 1997.
In the fall 2000 RAPUNZEL and 15 Turkish farmers from the project started with controlled biodynamic cultivation
. Today we are very glad to offer our customers hazelnuts, apricots, figs and sultanas
quality. These crops are cultivated on a total area of 365 hectares.
Currently, about 450 farmers
from 14 provinces around Turkey participate in the RAPUNZEL project. They cultivate 28 different products, such as apricots, hazelnuts, sultanas, almonds, sesame, figs and olives on a total acreage of approximately 3,500 hectares.
Meeting point teahouse
RAPUNZEL employs six agricultural engineers who coach and advise the farmers in Western Turkey, the Black Sea Coastal region and in Eastern Anatolia. The favorite place for a discussion with the experts is the local teahouse. While sipping a glass of cay or a cup of mocha the RAPUNZEL consultant explains the correct application of organic pesticides that RAPUNZEL supplies directly to the farmers or informs about the use of technical equipment. The partners also discuss the weather, prices and personal affairs as well as the latest ideas from faraway “Alemania”. The regular meetings with farmers and RAPUNZEL consultants create an atmosphere of mutual trust that is the most important prerequisite for high product quality and the continuity of the project.
Every fall RAPUNZEL compiles a demand planning for the following year’s product range. Based on this demand, the project managers and the farmers plan the crop rotation for the coming growing season. In the wintertime, RAPUNZEL organizes training programs for the farmers where the farmers learn about the basics of organic cultivation, about organic pest management, composting or about the latest cultivation and harvesting methods.
The RAPUNZEL village project
The farmers in the village of Tekelioglu are very proud that they are part of Turkey’s first ecological village project. The village of Tekelioglu is located at the banks of the great Marmara Gölu Lake approximately 90 km east of Izmir. This first RAPUNZEL village project was founded in 1989. Almost all the farmers in the village practice organic farming growing sesame, chickpeas, sultanas, tomatoes and other crops. The mayor of Tekelioglu and RAPUNZEL have been the driving forces behind this project.
In numerous discussions
in the village teahouse both the mayor and the RAPUNZEL staff shared their expert knowledge with the local farmers and won them over for organic farming. Ismet Erefe, a highly committed local agricultural consultant works in the RAPUNZEL office in Tekelioglu. He is responsible for answering specific questions by the farmers on organic farming methods. Another means of communicating with the local farmers is a bulletin board where the RAPUNZEL consultant posts information such as optimal pest management schedules, current news, farming methods or the date of the next farmers meeting.
The village farmers also plan
communal activities such as the reforestation of municipal territory with native pine trees in order to prevent hillside erosion. During the last few year, the neighboring villages of Kapanci, Sahlili, Piyadeler, Poyrazdamlari and Belen joined the village project to form the Sahlili project. Through the merger of the villages a continuous eco system was reestablished in the area. One positive side effect of this was that the numbers of fish in the Marmara Gölu Lake have increased over the last few years.
Map as PDF