Mersin is one of Turkey's leading agricultural production centers. In Silifke district, farmers tried to grow strawberries without soil ten years ago. The first attempt was in a small field of 0,1 hectare. Now the production area has expanded and reached a total of 50 hectares.
Mehmet Yilmaz Yaltir, head of the Strawberry Producers' Association, said that the new technique is more profitable for the farmers compared to the traditional production.
Yaltir stated that with this technique they aim to produce throughout the year. "Once we produce during all seasons, we have more production. As our quality is higher, we manage to expand our markets. Now we have the opportunity to sell more strawberries in Turkey and abroad," said Yaltir.
Mehmet Yilmaz Yaltir, emphasized that open-field strawberries can only be grown in April, May and June, and that with new no-soil technique they can prolong this duration up to 8 months.
Farmers have now embraced the new technique for growing strawberries without soil, according to Yaltir.
"In 2009, we tried to grow strawberries without soil only in an area of 0,1 hectare. Today, this area has gone up to 50 hectares. In open fields only 4 to 5 tons of strawberries per 0,1 hectare can be harvested, whereas with this technique we can collect 10 to 15 tons of strawberries per 0,1 hectare. We built this system because we wanted to avoid soil related diseases and bad climate conditions. Besides, we have an increased productivity now."
Ali Turer, from the Atayurt Wholesalers' Association, said that they buy strawberries for 11 lira per kilogram directly from producers and that in their district they expect 70 to 80 tons of strawberries grown in a field of 8 hectares.
Source: AA (Huseyin Haskan)