Name ALARA TARIM URUNLERI SAN. VE TIC. A.S.
GGN 4049929954137 Website http://alaraagri.com/
Country Turkey

Farm Profile

Alara Agri Business was established in 1984 in Turkey. Alara Agri Business is one of the world's largest producers and exporters of fresh cherries and figs, and has become the global leader by revolutionizing agricultural practices and using advanced fruit processing technology. Alara products are distributed to major retailers in 22 countries across 5 continents. Alara works with the largest and selected GLOBALG.A.P. Option 2 certified growers under its PMO from Canakkale, Izmir, Manisa, Denizli, Bursa, Afyon, Isparta, Niğde and Eskişehir cities, with highly experienced employees and trained workers during the season. Also we run our own 3 orchards in the GLOBALG.A.P. Option 2 group, with a total planted area of over 220 hectares, and the harvest period is May through August. Our own orchards are located in three different regions across Turkey, and the season is prolonged by early and late varieties at different altitudes and latitudes.

Vision and Mission
Alara Agri's vision is to be the "global leader" in the fresh cherry and fig sector.
Alara’s mission is to accomplish its goal by professionally and efficiently supplying top quality products in compliance with the food safety standards in the most competitive cost structure. The objective is to prolong the supply period from different sources with new varieties around the country. At Alara, customer needs come first. Our commitment is to fulfill all of their needs and future expectations through innovations.

Our relationships with the  GLOBALG.A.P. (former EurepGAP) organization and standards started in 2004. The main structure of our PMO was also formed during those days. At first, we started with registering 256 cherry growers, and 332 hectares in total in 2004 under our PMO and increased them to 1,069 growers, 750 hectares in 2005. These are incredible numbers to be managed and train in accordance with EurepGAP principles, as the growers had no information about these principles. To manage these extraordinary numbers, we employed field agronomists and consultants to start training, and set up panels and face-to-face meetings throughout those years. We tried to reach every cherry and fig growers and tell them of our GLOBALG.A.P. dream. It was sometimes very difficult but when we saw the positive results from growers and customers we got encouraged more and more. We increased our cherry growers to 2,514 and fig growers to 1,600 in 2007.

Unfortunately, Alara was the only company running this kind of project by financing every single step using its own sources. There were no subsidies from the government or NGOs to widen this project across country. On the other hand, the other exporters were joking about this project, telling us that  Alara was wasting its money for nothing by building toilets and pesticides preparation areas in fields. But we didn’t give up and continue to share our dream. After that, we started to select the biggest and best growers year by year and now we have registered 304 cherry growers and 175 fig growers.

If you ask to us what GLOBALG.A.P. means for all of our growers, the simple answer is care about food safety, nature, human and animal health and safety, notebook, storage and toilet facilitates. GLOBALG.A.P.  makes our products more valuable and is passport for our products for all countries.

We continue our training measures for all of our growers, which start in the winter time as trees are in dormancy, and go on through pruning, pesticide applications periods, harvest dates and after harvest to autumn times. Our training include GLOBALG.A.P.  criteria, and cover plant protection, fertilizing, irrigation, pruning, quality, workers’ health and safety, first-aid activities, etc.

We are like a family with all of our growers. We take part in their private events like weddings, religious days, funerals etc. We think we are good at GLOBALG.A.P.  standards together with them. As you know, if family works together for the same target, there is no way not to reach this target as power comes from unity.


Achievements

Quick View of Our Operations
Raw material is sourced daily from each GLOBALG.A.P. certified cherry and fig growers of its GLOBALG.A.P. Option 2 group according to food safety and quality specifications by taking the quantity coming from the customers into consideration then shipping directly to the central packhouse in Bursa. The selection, sizing and prepacking is made by the production team under the frequent control of the QA team.

Alara has one of the most sophisticated cherry packing lines in the world. The company invested in a new electronic cherry sorter line from Italy in 2013 and 2017, increasing its daily capacity to 300 tons with high quality. There are 2,500 workers turnover in 2 shifts during cherry season. Cherries are sorted and packed according to customer specifications and demands. Packaging includes consumer packs, such as punnets and carry bags. We use modified atmosphere bags for all of our packs.
Alara has the most sophisticated optical fig packing lines in the world, handling 100 tons of figs per day. There are 350 workers packing per day during the season.

Alara is based in the Bursa region, which has an isolated perfect climate for this most rated type of black fig variety as well as other varieties. Bursa Black Fig variety has an exceptional taste and flavor, large in size, purple to reddish flesh color with crunchy seeds, and longer shelf life compared to other varieties. With its highly qualified and quality focused team in the whole chain, Alara is one of the biggest exporters of fresh Black Fig in the world.

Traceability
We have a traceability system from the field to the shelf. Every grower has their own financial code and it is written on the label and put in every crate of the grower’s harvested product. The sub-region/city, village and grower of the product can be traced via that label. When a product arrives at the packhouse, we have a barcode supported traceability system. The same information can be traced on this internal system as well as the amount of product and date of harvest, and the transported vehicle as well. It is the same for cherries and figs operations. We use this traceability system to get back to the grower if there is any problem, defects etc. with the grower’s product, according to recall policy. On the other hand, our packhouse traceability system includes packing shift, size of product, packing line, grower GGN, packing month, packing day. We think that we have a clear and transparent traceability system and we can trace back to the individual grower very quickly. We can easily find the grower of the product, plot and date of harvest, prices of the product etc. in one hour. We use barcode programs that are integrated with ERP systems. All this data can be controlled from our ERP IT systems.

Biodiversity
Our biodiversity management plan is to follow all the creatures living in and around our orchards. We keep a record and photos of wild life and it is completed every year by our growers. We do all of our agricultural practices to protect biodiversity and to increase the population of wildlife. We put food out for animals in winter and water in summer for animals in our orchards. This has become a routine for all of our growers. This is a very small step for us but a very big step for animals in extreme weather conditions. 20 percent of our own orchards are not cultivated, they are left empty to increase and protect biodiversity. You can see foxes, bears, turtles, snakes, squirrels, wild birds’ steps and nests in our orchards. Also, endemic plants are recorded by our staff and all protection steps are taken to avoid their extinction.

Pesticide Management
All our pesticide application is managed according to our customer demands. We improved our Pesticide Management Programs through grower education by cooperating with national institutions, the Ministry of Agriculture for approving EU pesticide lists, and with the chemical companies, as well as organizing intensive education programs, training, and panels for growers with ALARA agronomists in every cherry and fig growing villages, and selecting less risky, large-scale orchards for supplying. Carrying out extensive pre-harvest analysis project for all orchards, we take samples from all of our PMO included growers before harvest. We have a sample taker team consisting of agronomists and technicians. Samples are taken from risky points of the orchards as neighbor borders. Samples are sent for pesticide analyzing laboratories in the country and abroad to Germany and Spain. Based on the results we decide to purchase our growers’ fruits. The main aim in pesticide applications to be in accordance with economical thresholds, first applications must be cultural and physical methods, where possible with biological preparations and at least chemical applications to the right organism, in the right time and the right dose, with the right applicator and in respect of PHI. Our slogan in our pesticide management is “Do not sell any products to people that you will not give to your kids”. This slogan makes us more selective, serious and powerful in our management. To better control pesticide applications, we established our pesticides selling shop. As the European markets have different demands as to the quantity of pesticides and total MRL percentage of pesticides, we provide PPPL advice to all of our growers and results are 90%, 3 actives and total MRL is 60 percent. This is great and it make us powerful comparing with other competitor companies, thanks to GLOBALG.A.P.

Climate-friendly practices & reduction of CO2 emissions
We try to do all of our pesticide applications early in the morning or evening to protect active wildlife at other times of the day. Also, bees are very important for pollinations and this kind of application keeps bees alive. We never make any pesticide or fertilizer application to the border plants, areas.
Empty pesticide boxes are collected by recycling companies and municipality authorities so there is no negative waste effect on the nature, water and soil sources.
We make all of our fertilizer applications according to soil analysis per year, which provides a 60 percent saving in fertilizer costs. Also, it has become very profitable for us to mix pruning materials under the soil, as it makes our soil better for nutrition.

We use tensiometer to decide on irrigation start and finish times, which provides 70 percent water saving. 100 percent of our growers have dripping irrigation systems. We provide tensiometers to all growers and train them to use it. We annually analyze our water sources, chemically, physically and bacteriologically.

Reduction of CO2 emissions is one our most important goals to protect the earth for the next generations. For this target, we have a very strict policy for growers as to use recyclable packs, solar energy, and energy-saving lights, batteries, refrigerators, air conditioning etc.

Innovative Practices/Technologies
We are always open for and seek new technologies and innovative practices. For example, we try to apply regenerative agricultural practices in our own orchards. We take leaf samples weekly and send them for sap analysis to a Dutch lab, in order to understand what exactly our trees need and to avoid intensive fertilizer usage. We use wind propellers in our own orchards to protect our fruit quality from cold hazards. Also we have hail canons in our orchards and we are very successful in protecting our fruits from hail hazards too.

Social Responsibility, Women and Youth
Our company won the Turkish National Employment Award 2017 and the award was given by the Turkish President. This was a great honor for us. We will keep focusing on this target to be better.
In our packhouse, packing operation is mostly done by women workers as they are much better at selecting fruits on lines. Nearly 80 percent of our workers are women. We think they are the best in food safety and product packaging operations, like our mothers. Our ladies in our operations are trained to use computers, as packing machine operators, as first aid specialists, as workers health and safety specialists, drive cars and trucks, and most importantly to become a manager in their lives.
Nearly 60 percent of our workers are young between 18-25 years old. Youth is dynamism, youth is innovation, youth is excitement, youth is to look forward to the future with hope. We have nearly 15 trainee students every year and we train them as our biggest investments for future. We prepare them to look to the future with confidence.

We built ALARA Primary school and support all the students to have a better education. Thousands of children study there to be more useful for our country and to reach the level of contemporary civilizations.

All of our orchards are open to all people especially students, growers and children. Our technical staff demonstrate to them our good practices and tell them why good agricultural practices are important now and at the future. Also, visitors and corporations from UK, EU and US have visited our orchards.
We trained Syrian refugees according to good agricultural practices, harvest and hygiene, health and safety, packaging fruits in accordance with the Turkish Ministry and Germany supported Cash for Work Project. Our aim in this project is to provide them technical opportunities and to help them to find jobs. We trained 120 Syrians, 100 of them were ladies. This is our first duty to help people that are away from their homes, lands and culture.

Summary of our achievements to become sustainable  are:

  • Continue to follow ETI social and ILO principles on human and workplace rights.
  • Increasing the sustainability awareness of all Alara suppliers and business partners to understand the impact of their processes on sustainability.
  • Increasing quality, corporate and personnel security practices by implementing ISO 27001, ISO 9001 and by hiring a Work Health &Safety Expert.
  • New automated technological sorting-packing machine to increase productivity.
  • Certification support to new growers to achieve international standards.
  • Smart MAP packaging solutions (increased shelf life + lower amount of plastic use + re-cyclable + environment friendly).
  • For this year mutual negotiation with truck suppliers regarding CO2 emissions.
  • Online Realtime Temperature Controlling System to minimize wastage development during transport and storage.
  • Extending the use of satellite-based Temperature Controlling System in internal transport.
  • Helping students who need clothes, books, machineries etc.
  • Improvement on protective clothing that is stronger and more water resistant
  • Reducing the excessive use of chemicals in orchards by analyzing the product of every single certified grower.
  • Recommendation of biological preparations against pest and diseases.
  • Urging growers to spray in the specific times when the activities of natural predators are at their lowest.
  • Use of a tensiometer in every orchard in order to reduce excessive use of water.
  • Transforming the growers from flood irrigation to spring irrigation system.
  • Urging growers to make irrigation at the time of lower evaporation rates.
  • To reduce excessive use of fertilizer, soil analysis is a good reference.
  • No chemical use in Black Fig productions apart from some biological solutions.
  • Prevention of Ethephon use by analyzing the product before purchasing for figs.
  • Constructing an isolated pesticide preparation area in every single cherry village to eliminate any chemical leakage to the environment.
  • Continuing our GLOBALG.A.P.  + GRASP + Leaf Marque + Gold Medal Tesco Nurture + Field to Fork (F2F) certificates, which are the best proof that adding value to sustainability works.
  • Participation in “Food Safety Awareness in International Markets Project”, a project supported by the government and Uludağ Exporters Union.
  • Cultural and mechanical control methods to reduce the population of pests and diseases in cherries and figs as a result of efforts to decrease pesticides usage amounts and increase the sustainability of flora and fauna.
  • Use of more economical lights year by year.
  • Continue to support ALARA primary school and students.
  • Increasing the number of training hours per person.
  • Classifying every single waste and agreements with recycling companies.


We think that we could explain our GLOBALG.A.P. achievements, we will keep on working and searching to realize our GLOBALG.A.P. dream (One day all growers will be GLOBALG.A.P. certified for better, safer foods).

Keep the World Green to Be Happy.