Trabzon's entrepreneurial spirit.
Trabzon, on Turkey"s Black Sea coast, does not produce fruits and vegetables to export, but companies based in the northeastern city make up 20 percent of the country"s total fruit and vegetable exports.
Turkey exported 1,773,558 tons of fruits and vegetables and earned $1.96 billion on produce exports last year. Some 510,000 tons of those exports were carried out by Trabzon-based firms, helping the country earn $380 million. Trabzon takes the lead in terms of fruit and vegetable exports to Russia, exporting 473,531 tons there last year and earning $363.24 million.
Following the opening of the Sarp border gate between Turkey and Georgia, Trabzon-based companies focused their efforts on improving trade relations with neighbor countries.
Speaking to the Anatolia news agency, Ahmet Hamdi Gürdo?an, the chairman of the Eastern Black Sea Exporters Association, or DK?B, said his association was among the first companies to implement exports to Russia. According to Gürdo?an, the first fruit and vegetable exports to Russia were implemented in 1994 by a few firms with a single ship owned by an Istanbul-based company.
?Today, more than 50 firms in Trabzon export their products to Russia via 13 ships. Moreover, the number of tractor-trailers, which was almost none at that time, has reached hundreds today,? Gürdo?an said. ?This is a success story. Firms in a city that does not have fresh fruit and vegetable production have succeeded through hard work and determination. But it was not an easy process.?
Local companies invest in Turkey"s various cities due to the lack of fresh fruit and vegetable production in Trabzon, he added. ?They have a tomato facility in Antalya, citrus in Mersin and a grape-packaging facility in the Ala?ehir district of Manisa. They also have greenhouses in these cities. Thanks to this entrepreneurial spirit, Trabzon ranks third on Turkey"s exports list.?