Kamil Yılmaz, CEO of TURKTOB, said that seed is the most important and strategic input of plant production, adding that the desired level of productivity and quality product will not be achieved without quality seeds with genetic potential. Saying that the basis of long-term policy for agriculture sector is to meet the demand from domestic markets, Yilmaz added that in order to achieve this, the demand for such seeds should be met from domestic markets and through R&D works.
He said that although areas for plant production have diminished, the production amount has increased thanks to R&D studies. “In the past, farmers experienced reaping 50 kilograms of wheat from one decare. Now, we harvest one ton of wheat and 1.5 or 2 tons of corn per decare.” In the coming period, research and development studies should be backed not only for increasing productivity but also for developing plants resistant to disease and pest and good quality in the plant reclamation works, according to Yilmaz. He said that Turkey fails to utilize totally from richly plant genetic sources and endemic varieties.
Saying that Turkey established the first GenBank in 1970, Yilmaz said, “More than 65 thousand samples were gathered. However, 65 percent of these are not examined for the morphological and molecular feature. There are more than 110 thousand samples of different species and taxon in 250 thousand sample capacity GenBank established in Ankara in 2010. What is important is to renew these and to offer these to researchers. Universities, research institutes and private sectors have a responsibility on this issue.”
SEED TRADE EXCEEDS 45 BILLION USD
TURKTOB CEO Yilmaz said they witnessed positive results from R&D studies on cereals, pulse, and feed plants, adding that majority of companies that registered these varieties are Turkey-based. Yet, this success cannot be seen in industrial products such as corn, sunflower, sugar beet, potato, cotton and soybean. “The total value of the seeds that are subject to commercialization in the world is 45 billion dollars. This value is 1.3 billion dollars for Turkey. 71 percent of the seed trade is conducted by 6 or 7 firms in the world. In order to go beyond the current situation, a partnership among public, universities and private sector should produce more efficient results,” Yilmaz noted.