The Turkish city of Izmir, which has fertile agricultural lands, also stands out in cut flower production. The city ranks second in the production of lilies, gerberas, and lisianthus and holds the first place in rose and chrysanthemum varieties.

Before February 14, Valentine's Day, which is associated with buying red roses for their loved ones, the harvest continues intensively in Izmir, the rose production leader. Growers in Izmir produce nearly 25 million stems of roses annually, which makes up for nearly a quarter of the production in the country. These growers harvest two crops a year, in winter and summer.

Almost all of the roses produced for winter are put on the market just before Valentine's Day. Summer production continues from the beginning of April to the end of November. Growers enter the greenhouse in the morning to harvest and cut flowers until the afternoon. After the cut flowers are sold at auction, they reach customers all over the country. In addition to meeting the demand in the domestic market, roses are also exported abroad.

Cut flowers provide income to approximately 400 growers and employment to 2,000 people in the Menderes district, the main production region in the city. Izmir Agriculture and Forestry Director Mustafa Sahin said that greenhouse cut flower production in Menderes district is an important source of income. Stating that the climate conditions of the city make production possible without the need for any heating during the winter months, Sahin stated that this is an advantage for the growers.

Adding that Turkey will switch to planned production with the contract farming model, Sahin said, "One of the things we will most easily include in this contract farming model is cut flowers and outdoor ornamental plants. We are working on this. In the coming period, we will determine who can produce where, what, how much, and to whom they will sell, depending on a contract. We are trying to create a system that will act sustainably. We will plan production within the framework of these needs we have determined. This is a revolution in Turkish agriculture. It will be implemented in a very short time."

Eyup Calik, who has been growing roses in Menderes for 10 years, said that 800-1000 bunches of red roses grow on 1,000 square meters. Stating that they started preparing for Valentine's Day in November, Calik said, "We prune and maintain it in October, add pesticides and fertilizers, and it reaches this state. We start a busy harvest period for Valentine's Day around January 20." Noting that there were many rainy days this year and that they had to use pesticides and fertilizers to prevent dark spots on the roses due to humidity, Calik said that they cut the flowers daily and took them to the auction.

Calik added that bunches containing 20 roses are sold by the grower for 5 to 6.5 USD, depending on their quality.

Source: AA