In most of the 81 provinces of the Republic of Turkey, at least one regional cooperative federation exists. These federations usually represent several hundred cooperatives in their respective region.
DGRV on behalf of the German Ministry of Food and Agriculture is working together with two Turkish National Cooperative Federations to develop models that allow regional federations to strengthen their organizational structures, to develop their capacities by themselves und to provide better services to their member cooperatives.
Generally, the majority of primary cooperatives lack the capacity – both financially and in work force – to establish processing and storage facilities for agricultural products. The regional federations try to close this gap by providing those services to their members.
They are often specialized in a certain sector, for example, those involved in agriculture and animal husbandry mainly collect, cool and trade in raw milk. Besides this, they aim to provide services that help their members to establish a more stable and prosperous business. Diversifying the range of products that cooperative members can bring to market is such a service that a regional cooperative federation aims to develop.
Köy-Koop Denizli Bölge Birliği – the Regional Federation for Village Cooperatives in Denizli, started in 2018 to buy several different kinds of fruits from its member cooperatives, Köy-Koop experimented with different drying techniques to extend the shelf-life of their products. They invested in a drying chamber, packaging machines and storage facilities, and built up an own brand for cooperative’s products from the province of Denizli. Many of the farmers in Denizli, who are also members in a cooperative, were already engaged in cultivating fruits before. The region, situated in the Aegaen Region in South-West Turkey, provides fertile lands and favourable climatic conditions for a wide range of fruits.
As one of DGRV’s project partners, the regional federation quickly succeeded in establishing their products in the regional market. They even gained attraction nationwide within the Turkish markets due to their premium quality and innovative processing.
Spurred by this success, additional markets were explored, resulting in first international contracts with business partners in India and the United States.
In order to estimate the market potential for dried fruits from Denizli, but also for other dried or fresh products from agricultural cooperatives in Turkey, DGRV together with its partners conducted a workshop to discuss the requirements of different markets. Focus of this workshop was the European Single Market, which represents a huge potential while at the same time featuring very distinct legal requirements as well as quality aspects that are defined by large import companies who are in direct contact with retailer organisations in different European countries.
As key take aways from this event producers and cooperative representatives took that their products are highly relevant for the European, but also for other international markets. Their innovative approach during the drying process guarantees very distinct colours and flavours and distinguishes their products from competitors. Documentation and traceability are increasingly demanding, the higher the product value.
Visiting fairs in order to establish a direct communication between the regional federation and import organisations in Europe would be the first step towards this ambitious goal.
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