Nigde Omer Halisdemir University, located in Central Turkey, took the initiative to protect 40 local grape varieties from extinction and grow another 20 grape varieties from France, Spain and Italy.
The project, namely "Grapes Collection Vineyard", was initiated by the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences and Technology; and the Provincial Directorate of Agriculture and Forestry.
The goal of this project is two-fold. First, local varieties of grapes will be planted. Second, the exported varieties will be adapted to Turkey. Once, researchers identify the varieties that adapt well to this climate, saplings will be produced and distributed to farmers.
The Faculty's Vice-Dean and the project coordinator Assoc.Prof. Mustafa Ozden stated that they also work on popular national and international table grape varieties and continued:
"We adapt them to the climate conditions here and test their performances. We wish to contribute to Nigde's viticulture. So far, we have planted 60 varieties, mostly table grape varieties and local varieties that are used in raisins production."
The university's production capacity is limited to 50.000 saplings, however that is enough to meet local grape producers' needs, said Ozden.
"We started to produce our first saplings. Producers started to get to know us. We received a lot of demands and we try to meet these demands. Viticulture in Nigde has a long tradition. There are many unknown varieties, namely "nuniyar", "sabi grubu", "kirmizi sabi" and "mor sabi". The aim of the project is to protect their genotypes. We protect them from extinction and strive to expand the production areas." Ozden concluded.