Ministry sees large gains in walnut campaign
With its fruit and wood, walnuts serve many different purposes.The production and export of walnuts, the leading food of Anatolia both for its nutritional value and multipurpose use, is to be revived thanks to a project titled the Walnut Action Plan.
The goal of the project is to increase the income levels and welfare of Turkey’s rural population, while aiding in the promotion of local products. As part of the action plan, 5 million walnut trees are slated to be planted between 2012 and 2016.
Some 1 million walnut trees that were planted as part of forestation projects during the last five years are expected to bring 160 million Turkish Liras worth of profit into the country’s economy.
The goals of the Walnut Action Plan include analyzing the current condition of walnut tree plantations, determining areas for planting within the next five years, training qualified human capital for walnut cultivation, and establishing producers’ organizations that will help in marketing.
The Forest and Water Works Ministry will also continue supporting walnut forestation works implemented in favorable ecological conditions.
The ministry has developed many action plans with various aims such as preserving forests in the country, enabling social and economic development, preventing migration from rural to urban areas, and providing income to communities living in forests, who receive the lowest share from the national income.
According to Forest and Water Works Minister Veysel Eroğlu, the production and export of walnuts unfortunately remain below the desired level. Eroğlu said walnut production in the county did not even meet the rate of domestic consumption, with about 60 percent of the annual consumption being supplied by imports.
Therefore, the ministry developed the action plan, to increase the income sources of rural communities and contribute to the country’s economy.
During the action plan, 5 million walnut trees will be planted, which will both contribute to the production of walnut and other byproducts.
According to a report issued by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and Forest Resources Assessment (FRA) in 2010, the annual decrease of forest lands in the world has averaged 5.2 hectares over the last 10 years, while Turkey ranks in fifth place among the countries who increased the size of their forests with forestation and rehabilitation works over the last 10 years, information from the Forestry Directorate says.
Plans for villagers
“We are developing some action plans by cooperating with various institutions and all of our citizens, especially the ones living in forest villages,” the official organization says.
The project aims to increase the size of the country’s forests from 27.6 to 30 percent by 2023, the 100th anniversary of the foundation of the Republic of Turkey.
Purposes of usage
Walnuts, which are a rich source of thiamin, vitamin B6, folacin, iron, zinc, magnesium, potassium and phosphorus, have many benefits to health such as preventing blood coagulation and decreasing the risk of coronary heart disease.
With its fruit and wood, walnuts serve many different purposes. Walnut wood, for instance, is used for manufacturing furniture and parquets, musical instruments and sporting equipment, while its fruit has made great contributions to Turkish cuisine, as traditional Turkish foods such as pestil, köme, and baklava owe their unique flavor to walnuts.