Successful Tomato Season for Yonca Gida and Its Farmers

Tomato harvest, which started at the end of July and will continue until the end of September, is one of the most important periods of the year for Yonca Gida. Fresh tomatoes processed during this period turn into a wide variety of products such as tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, pizza sauce and ketchup, as well as barbecue and pasta sauce. Yonca Gida’s Vice Chairman Riza Seyyar evaluated how the tomato season is passing this year both for Turkey and Yonca Gida.

 

Could you please tell us about how Yonca Gida works with its farmers?

We have 42 contracted farmers in Manisa, Torbali, Afyon and Balikesir. We start to work with our farmers by starting with the analysis of soil and water. According to our quality standards and color and brix values, our agricultural engineers select and turn disease resistant seeds into saplings and give them to our farmers, and control contracted areas continuously from planting until the end of harvest.  It is very important for us that there is no pesticide residue in tomatoes. Therefore, our engineers also control selection of the pesticide and as well as pesticide periods. We support our farmers at all times, we also support them financially. By this means, we help them to achieve their agricultural operations without needing any other financial sources. This working model strengths our farmers loyalty to our company. We have many farmers that we work together for more than 20 years. The long-term relations we built with our farmers help us to reach the products and be more sustainable and therefore we become successful in our sector.

 

Recently, there are many news in the media that the prices of industrial tomatoes are very low and therefore farmers have suffered losses. What would you like to say about this?

Turkey’s industrial tomato need is around 2,600,000 tons when all the plants in our country fully work. As well as this, need for dry tomato and similar products is around 600,000 tons.  In summary, the total industrial tomato need of our country is over 3 million tons. Accordingly, when industrial tomatoes are planted in an area of ​​350 thousand decares in our country, supply and demand will come to a healthy balance. However, from the beginning of March this year, we all read in the news that the tomato farmers would make last of income. As a result of this populist approach, more than 400 thousand decares of industrial tomato are cultivated. This brought a yield of 20-25% above the sector’s needs. Although the demand was balanced, this surplus in supply resulted in the farmer’s selling price of the product below its cost. In our country, when industrial tomato cultivation takes place on an area of ​​350 thousand decares, supply and demand balance will not be disturbed, there will be no loss for the farmers and industrialists.
When we look at the event in terms of Yonca, I can gladly say that this year’s loss are not valid for our contracted farmers who have been working with us for many years. As Yonca Gıda, we set our tomato purchases from 0.525 kurus for field delivery, which is the price we determined in the contract we made with our farmers in January, and the net approximate factory cost of 0.600 kurus. We use this method not only for tomatoes, but also for all our raw material purchases such as gherkins, cucumbers, peppers and so on.Yonca Gıda’s relationship with its farmer is based on a win-win principle. It is clearly seen that this is the healthiest structure for sustainable raw material supply and sustainable production.