The Turkish floriculture sector, which has more than 3,500 endemic plant species in its flora, and exports all over the world, especially in the cut flowers, indoor and outdoor plants, bulbs, seedlings, saplings, wreaths, and moss groups, is in serious demand from the domestic as well as the foreign market.
Ismail Yilmaz, Chairman of the Ornamental Plants and Products Exporters Association, told that they achieved a 7% increase in international sales in the first 5 months of this year compared to the previous year.
Stating that the harvest did not provide the desired yield last year due to the damage caused to the greenhouses by the snowfall two years ago in Isparta, Yilmaz said that the production in this city also increased this year and that this would reflect positively on the export figures.
Reminding that they closed last year with 145 million USD in exports, Yilmaz said, "We believe that we will achieve a 20 % increase in exports as of August. Last year, due to the economic crisis in the world and the low production in Isparta, exports were below expectations. We are currently doing well. We reached 80 million USD in the last 5 months. We think we will reach the level of 165-170 million USD at the end of the year."
Stating that flower production is carried out in an area of approximately 6,000 hectares in Turkey, mainly in the Mediterranean and Aegean regions, especially in Antalya, Sakarya, Yalova, Mersin, Adana, and Izmir, Yilmaz said that outdoor plants are grown in 3,500 hectares, whereas cut flowers and indoor plants are grown in areas of 1,200 hectares and 1,300 hectares respectively.
Pointing out that the highest production of cut flowers is in Antalya, Yilmaz said, "90 % of cut flowers are produced in Antalya and exported from here. Production is also carried out in Isparta during the summer period."
Yilmaz said that outdoor production is mostly made in the Sakarya region and that outdoor exports are not yet at the desired level, but there has been an increasing amount of activity in this product group recently.
Yilmaz stated that the carnation is the variety that is sold most abroad but that the dianthus barbatus has also started to increase its share in exports in recent years.
Stating that approximately 100,000 people are employed directly, and 300,000 people are indirectly employed in the sector, Yilmaz said, "The workforce mostly consists of women. Women are more likely to have the skill set to work in this industry, and consequently, 80 % of our employees are women."
Yilmaz underlined that flowers were sent from Turkey to almost every point in Europe, and exports were made to 80 countries and added:
"The country to which we export the most for a long time is the Netherlands, and it is an important market for us. The second most important market is the United Kingdom. We have been quite good at exporting to the Turkic Republics in recent years. We grow and send outdoor plants, especially to Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan. We send mostly cut flowers to Europe. Additionally, serious demands are coming in from the Gulf countries. Our industry will reach better levels of exports in a very short time. We are in a good position in the domestic market as well."