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Turkey: Ankara municipality will no longer import plants and trees

The Ankara municipality will start encouraging growing domestic plants and trees to save money and lower the current trade deficit.

Newly elected Ankara mayor Mansur Yavas met with the relevant departments in the municipality and instructed them to identify the best suitable plant and tree varieties for the climate of Ankara. The meeting was also attended by 32 departments and sectoral organization representatives.

Ankara Municipality Environmental Protection Directorate President Hasan Muhammet Guldas: “Our common goal is to decorate our capital city with the most suitable plants and trees in the most financially responsible way possible. That’s why we have met with all the relevant stakeholders to discuss the plants and trees which can survive in Ankara’s climate with little maintenance. We are trying to be transparent in this process and this is the first of the many meetings we will have about this issue.

"We will support our domestic growers. We are trying to develop projects to boost domestic production and to direct them to grow the right products at the most cost-efficient way.”

Rural Services Directorate President Yildirim Samil Ozden added: “The use of local seeds, crops and plants is extremely crucial for our national economy. Just to like the form of a tree abroad and importing it without taking into account its price or compatibility to Ankara’s conditions does not make a lot of sense. This type of purchases is done just to gather attention from the public, but it creates problems for our budget.”

Growers and seed producers also spoke in the meeting and noted that they are already growing many varieties imported in their facilities and that they have the capacity and technical acumen to grow new varieties upon demand from the municipality. The growers also added that this is the first time that the municipality is involving them in this process and that they want to volunteer their expertise and product knowledge in the process of identifying the most suitable plants and trees for the capital city.

Ankara University Agricultural Sciences Faculty Landscaping Department Prof. Dr. Halim Percin: “This is a very positive development and a very important step to solving one of the most important problems in our industry which is imported plants and trees. We are a country with strong agricultural production and we need to solve this problem as soon as possible by supporting local growers.”

Turkish Growers Association Chairman Ahmet Dundar also spoke in the meeting and remarked: “To bring all the important stakeholders in the industry together is a very good start. Now we need to focus on how to correct past mistakes. We have seen in the meeting that there is absolutely no need for imported plants or trees. We can decorate an area 5-6 times bigger with the same budget if we use domestic products. We also have to focus on trees and plants which do not need a lot of water. We will start receiving the fruits of our labor in the upcoming years. We as a country will not only save money, we will also support domestic growers and create employment for many people.”

Source: Yeni Akit

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