Located in the Can district of Canakkale, in North West Turkey, the heating requirements for the Mavruz greenhouse are supplied by a nearby ceramic tile factory. Waste heat from the factory chimney, which is 99% vapour, is transferred via a heat exchanger to the water. By means of a closed-circuit geothermal pipeline the heated water is transferred to the greenhouse - 4.5 km away. In recognition of the project’s unique achievement, Mavruz was awarded the Sustainable Business Award 2019 for Turkey in the waste management category.
The operation is owned by the Mavruz Agricultural Company, which has invested heavily in the region to improve economic development and sustainability, while creating jobs for locals.
Innovative growing technologies
Built in 2018, this state-of-the-art greenhouse is a 4.4 ha complex and carrying the latest innovative growing technologies. Built on rocky terrain - with poor agricultural value – it employs soilless, sustainable hydroponic growing systems.
“Working with Biobest Turkey we avoid using chemicals in our crops,” explains Mavruz founder and board member Mr Cengiz Genc. “Biological control is one of the most effective pest control methods available. We believe it should be the first preference for growers wanting to produce healthy and safe produce, not only here in Turkey but worldwide. Producing safe and healthy tomatoes results in better quality, higher yields, better prices and improved export potential.”
The Mavruz tomatoes are marketed not only as local wholesale and exports but also online sales is also possible via the company’s website – a route to market that is proving popular, particularly during the pandemic.
The key pest challenges faced are Tuta absoluta, whitefly and russet mite. The crops are protected using locally produced Nesidiocoris tenuis, supplied by Biobest Turkey. Nesidiocoris-System, a predatory mirid bug, conveniently feeds on both whitefly and Tuta.
On-site technical support is supplied every two weeks by Cem Turhan, IPM and pollination sales and technical representative at Biobest Turkey.
“Nesidiocoris-System is introduced from late February at a rate of 0.5/m2 which is increased to 1/m2 in late March,” he explains. “To aid establishment we recommend use Nutrimac. Depending on predator establishment and pest pressures, introductions can continue in April and May.
“The Mavruz team also deploys our sticky traps and pheromones to aid monitoring and control. Black sticky traps and our Tuta pheromone lure for Tuta absoluta and yellow cards and roller traps for whitefly. The crop workers scout weekly for both pests, keeping records of the counts on the traps which they share with us.”
During the recent Covid-19 lockdown, Cem and his colleagues had to temporarily suspend on-site visits, resorting to weekly telephone communication.
At the time of writing this (May 2020), Covid-19 restrictions have eased in this region of Turkey and Cem and his colleagues are pleased to have resumed on-site visits to check the progress of the IPM programmes in the tomato crop.
As well as helping to lead the way in pesticide-free production in Turkish tomato crops, the company set out to employ high numbers of women. This positive discrimination has resulted in 95% of crop workers being women – a point the company is proud to publicise on its produce boxes.