|Turkey Regulatory Framework and Policy; Case Studies for Organic Agricultural Development|
In December 1994 the first Turkish regulation for organic production came into force. It was prepared for countries exporting organic products to Europe to meet the standards of EC 2092/91. The Turkish standards have not been updated as often as the EU standards, but a partially revised regulation was introduced in 2002 just before Organic Farming Law 5262 came into force in December 2004. Following this, the new Regulation on ‘Essentials and Implementation of Organic Farming’ came into force in June 2005. In each stage harmonization of Turkish regulations with existing EU standards has been considered.
Currently there are nine certification bodies licensed and controlled by MARA, The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, all operating according to the Turkish law and regulation and in line with the European standards. Several certifiers also do their controls according to Biosuisse, JAS, biodynamic standards, and the NOP, depending on the standards of the targeted market. All the certifiers are accredited according to EN 45011 or ISO 65 by either national or foreign accreditation bodies.
There is no group certification or participatory guarantee system functioning yet in Turkey. The certification of export products or raw material production for the food industry is generally organized and financed by the buyer who is contracting with the individual farmer. In this case the farmer gets a premium price of 5-20% and the control and certification cost is paid by the buyer or exporter.
The national symbol is mandatory under the organic law of 2004 for all organic products sold in domestic markets. It is quite similar to the EU logo but has a map of Turkey in the middle.
Organic agriculture policy
The general agricultural policy does not discriminate against organic. In the directive of 2005, several initiatives are implemented by the MARA. An area payment is granted to organic farmers on top of the basic payment that is a part of the Direct Income Support. National support schemes have also been available for farmers operating in nature conservation areas. A nationally funded ‘Extension of Organic Agriculture’ project is another measure. Under the project for implementation of the CAP, a Rural Development Program, prepared with the help of Europeaid, is likely to provide opportunities to support the development of organic agriculture.
Besides that, a special credit rate with a 60% reduction for all entrepreneurs in the organic sector has been available from the Agriculture Bank of Turkey since 2004. Data collection and management associated with the control of OCBs was started in 2005 by MARA. It will provide information regarding land areas in organic production and quantities of production.
Many donors such as the World Bank, UNDP, FAO, GEF, GEF SGP, REC, DEFRA and MATRA have supported the development of organic production in Turkey. Organic agriculture has been either one of the main focus areas or a side theme as a tool to support nature conservation, rural development, and sustainable use of land and other natural resources. FAO has supported many events to bring together the stakeholders of organic agriculture in order to develop a strong network and capacity-building of the actors. With the support of FAO, an international consortium was formed to assist MARA in setting up the Turkish organic agriculture legislation, harmonized with the EU legislation and strengthening the capacity of MARA in regard to supervision, control, promotion, and extension of organic farming according to EU practices.
It is clear from all these strong and weak initiatives regarding policy development in organic farming that without a good National Action Plan there will never be a strong development in any area within the organic sector, nor a great future for the movement.
(Author: Victor Ananias) Further reading on Early Organic Development In Turkey:
Case Study Overview
Early Organic Agricultural Development
Organic Market Development
Regulatory Framework and Policy
Supporting Structures and Lessons Learned
(Adapted From IFOAM, Building Sustainable Organic Sectors)
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