For 10 years, trading Turkish dried fruits, in particular Turkish sultanas and grapes, has been an essential focus of the daily work of Specialty Brokers. Regular site visits guarantee successful business relationships and serve as an early alert system to problems in the supply chain!
The Turkish wine growing area is extensive, stretching from Izmir – Manisa – Torgutlu – Alasehir – Cebeci – Yener – Sarigol where about 80.000 farmers produce over 2 million MT of fresh grapes. About 250 - 300 TMT of these are processed into dried raisins and grapes. Pesticides represent 20% of growers’ costs – their biggest expenditure. In Turkey, there are no state restrictions on the supply of herbicides/fungicides/insecticides/acaricides! We are aware of more than 100 different substances that are used in Turkish grape growing.
Among the best-known chemicals are chlorpyrifos, iprodione and glyphosate with far-reaching consequences for exports and the domestic economy. Not only the uncontrolled use of fungicides, but also uncontrolled multiple contamination by so-called pesticide cocktails are a problem. This situation leads in the classic Turkish cultivation areas to:
- Groundwater pollution with pesticides
- Air pollution with pesticides
- Toxicity and damage to pollinators such as bees
In addition, it has not yet been fully researched how the human organism reacts to food contaminated with so-called pesticide cocktails. It is a recognised fact that children and pregnant women are counted among the risk groups for contaminated food. This results in a threat to all partners involved in the life cycle of raisins.
In order to secure this market for our customers in the long term, Specialty Brokers has registered the EUIPO - brand IPM- (Integrated Pesticide Monitoring) for its unique Turkish raisin cultivation project. We support the Turkish farmers and the EU food producers in the development of sustainable raw materials, which support the retail sector in Germany in the implementation of sustainable food. It was foreseeable early on that the EU Commission with the new President von der Leyen would restrict the type, use and quantity of pesticides with its "Farm to Fork ( F2F )" strategy.
In the future, only products that comply with the rules will be accepted in the European market. The planned EU supply chain law and the EU regulation on multiple contamination with pesticides in food clearly shows that not only domestic producers, but also suppliers from third countries and local processors, will have to take responsibility and act if they want to have a chance to market their products in Europe.
IPM is based on raisins with a maximum of 4 pro-active pesticides approved by the EU and produced in a close partnership between local Turkish farmers and the exporter Özgür (the world's largest processor of raisins with about 80 TMT annual production). Raw materials are only purchased from certified and registered farmers who meet the quality requirements. All farmers involved in the IPM project purchase their max. 4 pesticides from Özgür. This is done at subsidized prices and guarantees transparency and traceability of the delivered batches. All inspection reports are digitalized and allow the buyer the complete traceability according to F2F. Tests and corresponding certificates are stringently checked and recorded.
In addition to achieving increased prices for the raw materials supplied in this way, the farmers receive training in the use of pesticides and the social and ethical requirements that are important for long-term export to Europe in accordance with F2F. With these measures we not only ensure the compliant supply of our EU customers, but also protect the livelihood of the raisin farmers in Turkey and their families. It is forgotten too often that the EU F2F strategy will be a dramatic learning process for all market participants in the future.
All this means a guaranteed and sustainable supply of safe raw materials that are compliant with European standards. IPM raisins that meet the EU requirements regarding the type and multiple exposure to pesticides are marked with our IPM brand and immediately visible to the buyer. Our Sultanas already meet the EU supply chain requirements in respect to social, healthy and environmentally friendly agriculture. All processes of our shipper Özgür have been successfully tested and certified by Intertek according to CEDEX SMETA rules.