The demand for affordable, fresh, local, and healthy foods is growing in Turkey. In many big cities public and private institutions operate weekly farmer’s markets, offering consumers a wide assortment of organic fresh fruits and vegetables. These markets provide opportunities for local farmers to direct market their products at retail prices. As a result, local farmers have gained greater control over production and marketing decisions while capitalizing on the opportunity to sell specialty or niche products, test new enterprises or give direct marketing a try without (besides manpower) making a huge financial investment. At the same time, these markets offer a host of social, economic and health benefits for the consumers. Besides access to fresh food, they provide the opportunity to develop relationships with local growers and a place to meet and socialize and experience alternative shopping.
The first organic farmers market in Turkey was opened in Istanbul / Şişli in 2006 by the Buğday Association with the support of the local administration. Later, ETO, other NGOs and several municipalities followed this example in other cities, aiming to give marketing support to farmers in their regions and provide organic food for consumers. Today, approximately 15 such markets are operated throughout the country. During recent years, the national marketplace for organic products has grown considerably in Turkey and its structure became more complex. In addition to farmers selling their produce directly to the consumer, intermediaries have taken hold of the markets, offering a wider assortment of products to consumers and bringing products from different regions particularly to İstanbul markets at more affordable prices. Organic Farmers Markets play an important role in the consumer and media awareness for organic products and safeguarding product quality in such sales points is therefore crucial for the reputation of organic agriculture in Turkey. To meet this demand, ETO has developed the EKOPAZAR Standard, a document regulating labelling, food safety, control and certification, traceability and residue-free status of the products offered on the market and which is binding for all vendors.
In addition to that, ETO has developed Quality Guidelines for Organic Farmer Markets, describing in detail all legal requirements for running such markets and giving specific information of how to organize and administer them. Based on these documents and its knowhow, ETO is providing consultancy support to potential organizers of such markets.¨
ETO’s ecological bazaars in Izmir
ETO presently runs 3 ecological bazaars in Izmir:
*Bostanlı: Friday – from 09:00 to 20:00
*Balçova: Saturday – from 09:00 to 20:00
*MaviBahçe Shoping Mall: Tuesday – from 11:00 to 19:00 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bGaqB_PLsMI
All three markets are controlled by employees of the association. The present control system includes:
*Checking all the certificates and invoices or receipts from all farmers and intermediaries when they arrive at the market.
*Weighing/estimating amount of incoming and outgoing products (entering and exiting the market).
*Data recording and cross-checking of sold products to the final consumer.
*Amount of sold products sent to the vendor’s control bodies for product flow control.
Buğday’s organic bazaars in Istanbul
Sisli’s market place in Istanbul is presently the biggest organic farmer market in Turkey. The market is controlled by a team of Buğday Association with the following activities:
*Weighing/estimating amount of incoming and outgoing product (entering and exiting the market)
*Data recording allowing to trace back the products from vendor to producer.
*Checking all the certificates and invoices or receipts.
*Additionally there is a booth operated by Buğday, where all the information about organic and the farmers is available for the public, including certificates.