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Turkey: Grower grows tomatoes in coco peat for export in Canakkale

Grower Cengiz Genc uses new generation agricultural production methods to grow high-quality products at lower costs. Before becoming a grower, Cengiz Genc went to the Netherlands in 2011 and attended one of the best agricultural universities in Europe to receive education in modern greenhouse production. After returning from the Netherlands with the completion of his education, he decided to set up his greenhouses in Canakkale region, located in the northwestern part of the country.

After being informed about a nearby factory’s efforts to find a use for its waste chimney gas from their production facility, Mr. Genc decided to use this energy to heat his greenhouses.

Cengiz Genc: “We have built a 4.4-hectare greenhouse at the end of 2018 to grow tomatoes. There is pipeline from the production facility into our greenhouse where hot wastewater circulates through the pipeline and heat the greenhouse.

"We are using hydroponic production in our greenhouse because the soil has actually no additional value to the plant besides being a platform for it to stand in. If you can find a similar material to replace soil so your plant can stand in, then you do not need the soil for production. For this reason, we are using coco peat instead of soil in production. Coco peat is placed in a 20-cm x 1-meter beds where it expand with water to hold the roots of the plants and allow it to grow. With this method, we have a production in 41 weeks of the year.

"The quality and taste of our tomatoes are easily comparable to other tomatoes grown in soil and our tomatoes actually are healthier since there are no chemicals used in the production. With traditional production, it is difficult to identify diseases before they spread as the root is planted into the soil and you can not see it. However, with soilless production, the roots are visible thus it gives you a better chance to detect any diseases before it spreads more. Instead of chemicals, we use bees and other insects.

"In open field, a grower can receive approximately 3.5 tons of tomatoes per 1.000 square meters however in our greenhouse we receive 45 tons per 1.000 square meters.

"I believe our country is way behind of the developed countries in terms of agricultural production methods. Not only European growers but also South American growers are more developed than us in this regard. They are even using drones in agricultural production to monitor farmers in South America. I believe more of our young educated people need to move to the agriculture industry as there is a big room for improvement and we need more educated people in this industry. Methods such as vertical farming are largely unexplored in our country for instance and we need young entrepreneurs to undertake such projects to improve this country’s agricultural production.”

A former high-level manager in retail and food industries, Cengiz Genc had previously won a Sustainable Business Award for its smart agriculture initiative “Mavruz”.

Source: Gida Hatti

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