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Turkish organic poultry sector: General evaluation and lessons from successful practices

AKSOY, Tulin (2014) Turkish organic poultry sector: General evaluation and lessons from successful practices. Paper at: IFOAM Organic World Congress 2014, Istanbul, Turkey, 13-15 October 2014. [Completed]

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Considering Turkey’s success in conventional chicken industry which is around the frontlines in chicken meat and egg production in the EU, the aim of this article was to define the status and potential of organic poultry meat production in Turkey. Also we aimed to generate some advice to accelerate the progress in organic chicken meat production with a view to the successful implementations in EU and USA. In line with the purpose, we will consider the results of some of our past research on the surveying of the rural poultry in Turkey and on alternative broiler experiments.
As commonly known, poultry production has been industrialized, and Turkey has a highly developed poultry industry. However, village poultry still exists in many developing countries. Depending on the large rural population (23 %), this type of production has also been going on in Turkey apart from the huge industry. Industrial poultry has increasingly been questioned by western public opinion with respect to animal welfare and sustainability; alternative poultry production systems were developed as a result of these susceptibilities. The ideal alternative system is organic poultry but some intermediate systems are also developed. Although half of the layers were kept in non-cage alternative systems in the UK, organic layers have still only 2.6 % share. It is not easy to convert to the organic.
Thirty three per cent of total meat production in the world comes from poultry, whereas 60 % of the total meat consumption was provided from chickens in Turkey. A high rate of conventional standard chicken meat consumption has created weariness, and it is often questioned whether conventional chicken meat is healthy or not. This questioning is of critical importance in terms of developing alternative systems. In the last few years, eggs from organic and other alternative systems have become more easily accessible, but alternative chicken meat is still rather rare.
In a pioneer research undertaken by ourselves, it was concluded that university students showed lower acceptance to alternative chicken meat. Older individuals may be expected to enjoy alternative meats of strong taste, but we will have to consider animal welfare and sustainability issues when marketing alternative chicken meats to young generations.
Can we find farmers willing to do organic poultry farming? According to our surveys about rural poultry in Çanakkale and Antalya provinces, at least 80 % of families were involved in small scale rural poultry, especially for the family’s egg consumption. About 40 % of the poultry keeping respondents in two provinces replied yes to the question of “if there was any support from the government, would you increase your poultry production scale for the market?”. All respondents (346 in two provinces) stated that they had not received any extension support about poultry production. Agricultural extension is performed only by the Ministry of Agriculture in Turkey, but it is often neglected for poultry.
Perhaps the most successful example of alternative chicken meat production is the French Label Rouge (LR) poultry. Ten percent of poultry meat produced in France has LR label, but 40 % of poultry farmers is LR keepers. This voluntary collective model is supported by the government. On the other hand, as a nonprofit organization, NCAT (the National Centre for Appropriate Technology) have been promoting sustainable agriculture in the USA since 1976. NCAT provide assistance on a wide range of topics on organic production and poultry via their services, including ATTRA (National Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development). Another example is “Freedom Food” labeling in UK turkey, which should also be closely reviewed. This farm assurance and food labeling scheme focuses on animal welfare and is a charity. Freedom Foods initiative has made substantial contributions to the development of alternative systems via keeping the issue of animal welfare on the agenda. We believe that these success stories will be useful benchmarks for Turkey’s organic poultry sector.

EPrint Type:Conference paper, poster, etc.
Type of presentation:Paper
Keywords:Organic poultry, rural chicken, Turkey, extension service
Subjects: Animal husbandry > Production systems > Poultry
"Organics" in general > Countries and regions
Research affiliation: Turkey > Other Organizations
International Conferences > 2014: 18th IFOAM OWC Practitioners Track
Deposited By: Aksoy, Prof. Dr. Tulin
ID Code:24161
Deposited On:27 Feb 2015 09:41
Last Modified:27 Feb 2015 09:41
Document Language:English
Refereed:Not peer-reviewed

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