Citrus fruit production fields converted into dragonfruit greenhouses in Antalya

Tropical fruit production, which started in 2015 in the Manavgat district of Antalya, Turkey, has expanded to an area of 20,000 decares, 16,000 of which is under greenhouse. In addition to bananas, the cultivation area of pitaya fruit, also known as dragonfruit, has exceeded 1,000 in the last year. 

Manavgat, one of Turkey's largest tourism destinations, also contributes to the country's economy with agricultural production. The growers from Manavgat have become pioneers in tropical fruit production in Turkey. Tropical fruit production, which started in 2015, has now reached 20,000 decares. Banana production, which started in a 21-decare greenhouse in 2014 for trial purposes, is carried now out in a 15,000 decare greenhouse area.

In addition to bananas, pitaya fruit has started to attract attention from growers in the last year. The cultivation area of dragonfruit, which was produced on only 15 decares of land at the beginning of last year, exceeded 1,000 decares in a year. Due to the high possibility of exporting dragonfruits to Russia, Ukraine, Iraq, Qatar, Russia, and EU countries and its high price of around 3 USD/ kg, it attracted attention from growers and investors. The growers started to grow dragonfruit by transforming the citrus and pomegranate production areas due to the high market demand and price attractiveness.

Seydi Tahsin Gungor, President of Manavgat Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MATSO), explained that they are working on growing alternative agricultural products with high added value in Manavgat. Emphasizing that there has been a significant increase in greenhouse agriculture in Manavgat in the last 5 years, Gungor said, "We are directing our growers and investors to tropical fruits in order to diversify agriculture. The district has achieved significant success in banana production. However, we should not solely depend on bananas. We have to find alternative products. Dragonfruit is one of these products. The dragonfruit investment, which was 15 decares until the last year, has now exceeded 1,000 decares. Tropical fruits are very suitable for the Manavgat climate, so we are trying to direct all our growers and investors to tropical fruit production. There is a huge demand for dragonfruit right now. It goes directly to export. Russia and Hungary are making very serious purchases of this product. We also have exported to Ukraine, Qatar, and Iraq."

Volkan Simsek, who transformed part of the orange-planted citrus orchard and established a 1.5-decare dragonfruit greenhouse with his father and brother, said, "We researched the production conditions and marketing opportunities in depth. We saw that it was feasible. We also talked to my father, we made a trial planting in a part of the land. With the yield, we obtained of this product we have seen that it can be grown. We started production with 1.5 acres of greenhouses. We are in the process of growing 5 types of varieties under 2 main groups, red and white inside and there is a high demand for the product from abroad."

Simsek's father, Muhammet Simsek, added that dragonfruit is a type of plant that can be grown all over the Mediterranean region and that it is sold for 3 USD/ kg these days. Expressing that 8,000 -10,000 fruits are produced annually in the 1.5-decare greenhouse, Simsek drew attention to the fact that the grower can generate an income of approximately 12,000 USD per year. Simsek emphasized that there is no marketing problem as the product is exported to many countries.

Source: Gun Haber

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