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Helping small growers in Turkey to develop. And thus, narrowing the gap between high-tech and traditional horticulture. That is the mission of Agronis, distributor of horticultural supplies in Antalya. And how wonderful that Dutch Plantin is able to contribute to this mission. Thanks to our partnership with Agronis, we help farmers get ahead. How? Allow us to explain.

Turkish growers face huge challenges
Demand for more and better vegetables is increasing in Turkey, particularly around Iarge cities like Istanbul and Antalya. And that is presenting problems for the majority of Turkish growers. These farmers often only have a small parcel of land and use traditional farming methods, that is, without automation. They have often been farming the same piece of land for fifty years, as a result of which it is no longer fertile. And that is not the only problem with the soil: it is also full of nematodes and fusarium fungi, for which growers use a great deal of chemicals – which are often too expensive for them. While regulations pertaining to use of pesticides are becoming stricter. Consider that in addition, water, of which open field cultivation requires a great deal, is rapidly becoming scarce, and you understand the problems these small growers are facing.

Helping farmers together
High time to change this, according to Zarif Coskun, Director of Agronis. One of the first steps he undertook was to contact Dutch Plantin, a producer and supplier of coconut substrates. We sealed our partnership at the end of November 2019 at Growtech, the leading horticulture trade fair in Turkey. Agronis and Dutch Plantin are convinced that hydroculture and cultivation on substrates are the future for Turkish growers. Soil-borne diseases and poor-quality soil will then no longer be an issue, far less water and fertilisers will be needed, and farming will be less labour intensive.

Affordable solutions and guidance
Together, we are helping farmers take the first steps towards modern hydroculture and cultivation on substrates. How? By offering them affordable solutions. And supporting them in the transition to cultivation on coconut substrates. Guidance plays an important role in this. It often concerns small family-run businesses that are hesitant to take risks and participate in new developments. We hope that by showing the cultivation results, we can eliminate the fear of innovation and new methodologies.

More women please!
Zarif Coskun has one more mission: to increase the number of female growers in Turkey. Coskun: “We definitely need more women in this market. Why? Because they are truly the minority in this sector. And the same applies to countries like Bahrain, Qatar and the Emirates.” Agronis and Dutch Plantin are focusing on helping farmers and giving greenhouse horticulture a boost in these regions too, because growers in these countries are facing the same problems as Turkish growers.