As part of the project led by Döngü Cooperativedoing agricultural research and development in Izmir, and the Aegean Agricultural Research Institute. These flax varieties do not need inputs such as fertilizers and pesticides and are drought resistant and should be an attractive product for the grower. The registration application for the flaxseeds that grow from the seeds planted in Kahrat neighborhood of Tire district in Izmir has been made and they will be harvested in July.
Despite the memory of the Anatolian and Mesopotamian lands, flax, whose production has stopped for the past 40 years, stands out as a product with high added value. Its oil is used as a food and feed additive, its fiber is used as a textile, composite and paper raw material, and its stem is used as paper and insulation material.
Flax production has declined sharply since the 1960s
While Türkiye’s flax production was between 6,750 and 3,500 tons in the 1960s, these figures have been decreasing over the years when considering the general outlook. Izmir Agriculture and Forestry Director Mustafa Özen told Anadolu Agency (AA) that Türkiye’s flax production was on the verge of disappearing in the past 40 years, falling to 2 tons for various reasons. Özen mentioned that global climate change is driving humanity to drastic decisions and said farmers should be directed to this drought-resistant product. He relayed that flax, which can only sustain itself with snow and rainwater, does not need fertilizers and pesticides, it can be grown with weed removal and hoeing. in the first period, emphasizing the need for a market for the product to become widespread. Özen said that they support the project developed by the Döngü Cooperative for the processing of flax and the production of different products like the Aegean Agricultural Research Institute and the direction.
“An important alternative in drought-prone regions”
Özen said flax can be grown in humid regions such as the Aegean, Mediterranean and Black Seas, and is considered an important alternative in regions experiencing effects of drought. He pointed out that searches for alternative products have emerged with the abstraction of groundwater and the decrease in the amount of rain in the Petit Méandre basin and said:
“We saw that the seed varieties we obtained can adapt very well to the region in the trials we conducted for 2 years. Therefore, we have no concerns regarding production. We not only want to expand the flax production area in this region, but we also want to work on the processing of the flax we have produced. At this stage, we want to expand the market area by setting up a pilot-scale business and obtaining different substances from flax seeds and stalks.”
“We want to create a cycle that works well from cultivation to end use”
Zeynep Derece, head of the Döngü cooperative, said he developed the project after engaging in the production of biocomposite materials from flax fibers and not finding local raw materials. Derece said that the seeds were planted in Kahrat district as well as in Manisa, Denizli, Ankara and Samsun and explained that they did not leave the project with the production, but planned it in a cycle which included product transformation and development. of the market.
Derece said that they plan to establish a workshop in the Kahrat district and make it an important flax base. She continued her words as follows; “We want to create a cycle that works well from cultivation to end use. The cycle (döngü) of our name comes from there. We want to establish a system that encompasses existing information and combines it with innovative ideas and technologies, minimizing the market problem of villagers and meeting the needs of the end user with domestic and not imported products”.
Farmer Erdem Kuru planted flax on his 10 decares field for trial purposes in mid-November and said it would be harvested in a few months. Kuru noted that he planted the product because he was curious about it; “Its cost will be low since it does not require fertilizers or pesticides, and we planted it because we wanted an alternative product to wheat. If it ends positively, we plan to plant in more places next year.”
Linen, which uses less water than cotton and can be grown without fertilizers or pesticides, tops the list of sustainable fibers. Flax fibers are preferred especially in hot climates with their heat-resistant and absorbent structure as well as their eco-friendly characteristics and are used in bags, garments, tablecloths, sheets and many other textile products.