Erdek, Balikesir, a city located in northwestern Turkey, grows red onions that were awarded a geographical indication from the Turkish Patent Institute last year. Farmers grow red onions in five neighborhoods in the area.
While, the harvest season for red onions continues, the product is in demand from European and Middle Eastern countries.
The Ballipinar neighborhood grows approximately 1500 tons of red onions, said local representative Necmi Sezer. Stating that this year has been productive, Sezer said: "Our village's main source of revenue is red onions. We spend our days and nights with onions. We earn our living from this product. If the prices are decent, it will be a good season for the producer."
Welcoming the demand from abroad, Sezer continued: "In our village, farmers plant onions in an area of 30 hectares that eventually yields 1500 tons of onions. This is a very good number. We doubled our production compared to last year."
Erdek Agricultural Chamber and The Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey's (TOBB) tourism chairman Ozlem Sari stated that their aim is to increase yields and make sure that producers earn more. Sari said: "Red onions currently have 80 year-old seeds, we need to protect these. Once this is achieved, they need to be planted with healthy seeds."
Sari emphasized that different storage methods for red onions need to be developed and explained: "We need to keep them in cold storage and market them in sliced or toasted form. This year, we expect a higher yield. Last year we had problems in planting due to rains. This year, the quality is very high, therefore the harvest will be a great success. There is a high demand for red onions from abroad. We received demands from European and Middle Eastern countries. the United Arab Emirates, Israel and all the countries in Europe want red onions. First we meet domestic demands and then export the rest."