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Ecology Izmir 2010: successful launch

by Redaktion (comments: 0)

At Ecology Izmir 2010, the first edition of the ecological fair in the western city of Turkey, we observed the characteristics of a new born infant. Brave, fast-learning, enthusiastic and has much to accomplish in future. Between 6 and 9 May, 7,294 visitors from 19 countries attended Ecology Izmir 2010. The enthusiastic organizers, IZFAS, the leading fair organization company in Turkey, and ASDF, the organizer of eight previous Ecology Fairs in Istanbul, decided to join forces to create an international trade fair for organic products with the support of ETO (Ecological Agriculture Organization Association). (Picture: Organic wine & wineyards; Koldere, Turkey)
The concept of Ecology Izmir focuses on certified organic products, trade visitors and other professionals from a broad region spanning Eastern European and Central Asian countries, the Near and Middle East and North Africa.
Why Izmir? Izmir has many advantages as the host of an organic fair. It is the biggest city of the Aegean Region with about 3.5 million people and has a rich agricultural tradition. Izmir is also the centre of the organic sector: agriculture organizations and companies, many of them pioneers for more than 20 years. With one of the biggest ports of the Eastern Mediterranean region, Izmir is import and export hub as well. (Picture: The openening ceremony of the fair)

The General Manager of IZFAS, Mr. Dogan Isleyen, stated that the exhibition was about to gain an international identity by moving from Istanbul to Izmir: “The aim of IZFAS is to arrange value-added trade fairs in order to quicken the increase of the trade potential in Izmir, the Aegean and the broader region we are targeting with Ecology Izmir. The main reason for organizing Ecology Izmir 2010 is to contribute to the economic development of this region and to strengthen Izmir’s position in Turkey as the capital city of organic production.”
(Picture: A view from the fairs hall)

The focus of the exhibition was on certified organic products. A wide assortment of certified organic products like food (including wine and other beverages), textiles and cosmetics was on display: processed food, tomato paste and sauces, olive and olive oils, cereals, legumes, various teas, milk and dairy products, organic aquaculture products, fruit juices, dried fruits and vegetables in natural condition, seeds, canned goods, eggs, honey, wine, spices, organic hazelnut, fertilizers, textile products, organic denim, organic cleaning products, organic clothes for babies and organic toys. (Picture: The Aegean Exporters’ Associations stand)

The fair was held on 5400 m². 107 companies took part. Exhibitors were from the 17 provinces of Turkey (most of them from Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Adana, Samsun, Manisa, Gazintep, Çanakkale, Aydin). Apart from farmers or manufacturers, control and certification bodies like BCS Öko Garantie, Ceres GmbH, C.U. Certification, Certification Organisation, Ecocert (picture), ETKO Control, ICEA, IMC and IMO participated. Exhibitors at Ecology Izmir 2010, many of them export-oriented introduced themselves to buyers from Turkey and export markets. The first three days of the fair were open only for trade visitors, while the final day was open to the public. Trade visitors came from a total of 19 countries: Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Ukraine, Serbia, Romania, Azerbaijan, KKTC, Kirghizia, Kazakhstan, Italy, Sweden, The Netherlands, France, Denmark, Bulgaria and Germany. A special inspection team from ETO (Ecological Agriculture Organization Association) audited the products displayed and their certificates throughout the fair to guarantee their correct status.

Throughout the fair, there were various activities. With the support of Sustainable Life Joint & Dutlar Ecologic Village Enterprise, an ecological product screening took place. There was an art exhibition with fauna and flora pictures from Flora House Trademark, and a toys and ecological lifestyle discussion was held during the midday food section of the first days panel. There also was a workshop of the manufacture of organic toys. To strengthen body and soul, the Degirmen Organic Restaurant offered delicious organic menus. (Picture: Izmir Metropolitan Municipalty's stand)

Ecology Izmir 2010 was an impressive fair in all aspects, especially due to its enthusiasm. In the fair we observed the characteristics of an infant. It is like an infant, bravely and curiously taking its first steps into the organic world. Its aim is to be a new platform for exhibitors and visitors, enabling them to connect with the markets of Turkey and the wider region, but with Asian, Far Eastern, European and North American markets as well. The future of the industry and its challenges were discussed by specialists, producers, academics and other representatives, among them exporters, producers, wholesalers, distributors, universities, associations, NGO’s and specialised magazines who took part in an interesting conference programme. The two day conference programme on 7 and 8 May was organized by ETO (Ecological Agriculture Organization Association) in cooperation with Organic Services from Germany. It covered a wide range of activities, panels and seminars. (Picture: Delicious organic vegetables and fruits)

The topics of the first domestic day reflected the excitement of the exhibition: „What more can we do? “ „What and where is the domestic market in the organic sector?“, "What are the barriers and opportunities for the organic market in Turkey?“ Prominent speakers from around the world and domestic market actors tried to find answers and solutions to these important questions and recently defined problems. At the fair’s first panel, Atila Ertem, the President of ETO, and two of the domestic entrepreneurs discussed the topic “Where is the Domestic Market in the Organic Sector?” (Picture: At the first day of fairs panel)

On the second conference day Gerald A. Herrmann (picture), Director of Organic Services in Germany, and Tobias Bandel, Director of Soil and More in the Netherlands, shared their know-how about the "Status Quo of the International Organic Market“. Tobias Bandel explained the sustainability concept and highlighted that “the education of retailers is important.” The tagline from this high level panel came from Gerald A. Herrmann: "The Turkish market is ready to develop. You need just to do a little bit more!“.

All the participants at the fair agreed on a common declaration: “Turkey has huge potential in organic marketing and Izmir should be the frontrunner of
this transformation for the whole region”. Throughout the fair, many important statesmen and specialists made statements about the future of the ecological market in Turkey. During the opening ceremony the Mayor of Izmir, Aziz Kocaoglu said: “I believe Ecology Izmir will grow bigger than the previous ones. It will grow rapidly with the increased involvement of the organic sector.” Gerald A. Herrmann’s final résumé was: “The fair was very successful in its first year, although there is still a lot to do! (Picture: A folk dancing from the Blacksea Region)

Turkey: (conversion period included)

The number of organic products: 247
The number of organic farmers: 14,926
Cultivated organic agriculture area (ha): 109,387
Natural collection area (ha): 50,020
Total organic production area (ha): 166,883
Total organic production (tons): 530,225

Aegean Region (without farms in conversion period)

The number of farmers: 3,663
Total organic production area (ha): 41,212
Total organic production (tons): 97,791

Three provinces in Aegean Region have a big potential in organic production and organic products:
Izmir: olives =10,974 metric tons, tomatoes = 6,165 tons, grapes = 5,554 tons,
Manisa: grapes = 12,394 tons, tomatoes = 3,347 tons, apples = 2,719 tons
Aydin:  cotton = 6356 tons, figs = 6313 tons, olives = 4825 tons

Author: Buket Özgür (picture) has an advertising and public relations education (Anatolian University, Eskisehir - Faculty of Communication Sciences). After four years of professional experience in various international communication networks and after a period of voluntary work at the organic Bugday ("Supporting The Ecological Life Association" in Turkey) as well as internships at NürnbergMesse/BioFach 2010 and HerrmannsdorferLandwerkstätten, Germany. She appreciates to make a contribution to the organic industry.




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