One of the biggest auction halls in Turkey is located in Ayazaga district of Istanbul. Florists from Istanbul visit this auction hall regularly to re-stock their supply.
The auction hall is one of the 18 auction places owned by SS Flora Flower Growers Cooperative. There are a total of 3 auction halls in Istanbul and the employees at the auction halls are working tirelessly to prepare arriving flowers for the auction. The daily turnover at the Ayazaga auction is on average around USD12,000. The total daily turnover on all 18 auction places of the cooperative is around USD120,000.
The process at the auction starts around 3 am in the morning with the arrival of delivery trucks to the auction hall. The trucks are unloaded first and products are registered for the auction with specific codes. Then through a lottery drawing, the auction order of products is determined. The auction starts at 9 am and continues until all products are sold.
The products are put and displayed on a moving belt conveyor and the buyers sit around the moving belt. Most of the auctioned products are carnations, gerbera, dianthus barbatus, and hydrangea. The auctioneer informs the buyers about auction products and the products are sold through an auction where the highest bidder purchases the products.
At the other end of the conveyor belt, employees take the flowers off the conveyor belt and put it to the box assigned for the buyer.
SS Flora Flower Growers Cooperative Chairman of the Board Muammer Yazici: “The products in our auction come mainly from Izmir, Yalova, Kastamonu, Adana, Mersin, and Antalya. Growers pick themselves at which auction hall their products should be sold. There is a minimum price for every variety and the products are not sold under that price. The highest bidder wins the product and the price at the auction is set every day according to the supply and market demand. If there is a high demand, prices naturally go up. If supply is more than the market demand, then prices start to go down. Buyers each use a button in front of them to increase the prices and the winner is whoever leaves his hand off the button the last.
Recently the prices at Ayazaga auction hall is around 4 USD for roses and gerbera, 5 USD for carnations, 6 USD for lilies and 4.5 USD for lisianthus.
Soon we will start auctioning products in buckets. That is how it is done in the auction in the Netherlands. This way, the durability and vase life of flowers increases. In the first phase, we will have sales in buckets once a week and then it will increase.
The spending per person on fresh flowers is around 1 – 1.5 USD by my estimation. This figure has to go up so there will more jobs created in this industry and our products will improve which in turn will increase our flower exports. Turkish growers usually export carnations and gerbera to countries such as the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Germany, and Azerbaijan. In the last year, some growers have also started to export roses.
There are around 3,000 growers in our cooperative. More than 300,000 people earn their livelihood in this industry. Every florist and street vendor comes to the auction to purchase products. Almost 30 % of the flowers sold in the Turkish market are imported which is declining a bit due to the decrease in the value of Turkish currency.”