`Turkish Growers Criticize Bill to Allow Energy Plants on Olive Groves - Olive Oil Times

Turkish Growers Criticize Bill to Allow Energy Plants on Olive Groves

Jul. 25, 2014
Charlie Higgins

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Small olive farms in Turkey like this one could be turned into projects like nuclear power plants if a pro­posed bill is approved.

Olive pro­duc­ers in the Turkish province of Muğla have crit­i­cized a draft bill in par­lia­ment to allow energy and min­ing activ­i­ties on land that has been home to tra­di­tional olive groves for hun­dreds of years.

The ini­tia­tive has raised con­cerns not just about the future of the Turkish olive oil sec­tor, but about long term envi­ron­men­tal dam­age as well.

By remov­ing the offi­cial sta­tus of olive fields with areas of less than two-and-a-half hectares, the bill would pave the way for energy projects such as a nuclear power plant in Mersin and a ther­mal power plant in Yatağan. The bill would also remove cur­rent leg­is­la­tion that requires renew­able energy facil­i­ties to be built at least three kilo­me­ters from land des­ig­nated for olive pro­duc­tion.

Many olive pro­duc­ers have expressed their dis­ap­point­ment with the Ministry of Agriculture, which has sup­ported the sec­tor in its efforts to expand over the past 12 years.

None of the oppo­si­tion deputies believe this bill pro­posal to be log­i­cal. There are deputies even from the rul­ing party who oppose it, but we see no sign of the gov­ern­ment lis­ten­ing to our con­cerns this time,” said Tariş Oil and Olive Oil Sales Cooperative Union head Güngör Şarman in Today’s Zaman.

Critics say the bill con­tra­dicts the Turkish government’s plans to pro­mote national olive pro­duc­tion, which was val­ued at $1.5 bil­lion in 2012 – 2013. Since 2000 the num­ber of olive trees in Turkey has increased from 90 mil­lion to 170 mil­lion, and olive exports are expected to reach $3.8 bil­lion by 2023 at the cur­rent rate, though the pro­posed bill could change all of that.

Turkey cur­rently ranks fourth on the list of the world’s top olive and olive oil pro­duc­ers after Spain, Italy and Greece, with 10 per­cent of olive and 6 per­cent of olive oil pro­duc­tion world­wide.


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