Islahiye, Gaziantep, a city located in southeastern Turkey, produces table grapes and meets the majority of domestic demand. As they continue the harvest, farmers in the Islahiye district are satisfied with the quality and productivity of table grapes. The total area of vineyards in the district is 5 thousand hectares.
Islahiye meets local demands for grapes that are either consumed fresh, or used in drying, making molasses and dried fruit pulps.
Grapes are collected early in the morning in Altınuzum, Bogazici and Yesilyurt neighborhoods. The product is an important source of revenue for the farmers in the area. Grapes are consumed domestically and exported to Russia, Ukraine, Romania and the Middle Eastern countries.
Besides pistachios and olives, Gaziantep is also known for its grapes. The city grows several varieties of grapes that producers name as "Antep Karasi", "Horoz Karasi", "Kardinal", "Cekirdeksiz" (Seedless) and "Hatun Parmagi". Due to the high quality and taste, these grapes are soon going to be branded.
Islahiye Provincial Director of Agriculture and Forestry Yuksel Sahin said that the harvest of tables grapes continues in an area of 5 thousand hectares.
Sahin stated that due to rains, the yields are expected to be lower this year and continued: "We are at the early stages of the harvest. Islahiye district is known for its grapes and peppers. We grow grapes in an area of 5 thousand hectares."
"Our farmers are satisfied with the prices this year"
Director Sahin said that the producers in the district grow approximately 12 varieties of grapes including "Antep Karasi", "Horoz Karasi" and "Hatun Parmagi".
"The grapes that we harvest are suitable both for the domestic and foreign markets. We have had a good season so far. I hope that prices will not decrease much. Our farmers are satisfied with the prices. Currently we harvest varieties known as "Antep or Horoz Karasi". "Antep Karasi" variety of grapes is consumed both fresh and dry. It is also used in making molasses," Sahin added.
"This year we have lower yields"
Stating that producers sell grapes both to the domestic and foreign markets, Sahin said: "We didn't have any marketing issues this year in the domestic market. Our farmers can easily find customers in the market. We usually export grapes to Romania, Ukraine, Russia and the Middle Eastern countries. This year we expect that the export volume will reach 40 thousand tons though, due to rains, yields are a bit lower compared to last year."
Director Yuksel Sahin pointed out that the quality of Islahiye grapes is higher this year compared to previous years. He mentioned that beside grapes, peppers and cereals, the city also grows cherries, apples and persimmons.
Sahin announced that they have started a new project in order to improve the quality of grapes in the district's vineyards. Emphasizing that they want to shift towards a new production model, Sahin said that they continue to work hard in order to improve viticulture in the district.
Source: Ilkha (Ibrahim Kocyigit)