Worm fertilizer maker set to export to Europe

Worm fertilizer maker set to export to Europe

ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
Worm fertilizer maker set to export to Europe

Gülçin Karababa’s firm, Ekosol, has a 2 percent share in the local organic fertilizer market and 0.6 percent in the market that includes import products. Company photo

Ekosol, a local company that produces organic fertilizer by using various worms, is set to begin exports to European countries next year, as its production has been making remarkable leaps forward since its foundation in 2009.

Ekosol was founded in 2009 as its organic vermicompost fertilizer production doubled between 2010 and 2011 and tripled the following year, General Manager Burçin Karababa said in a recent interview with the Hürriyet Daily News.

Karababa said her first encounter with the Californian red worms, which are used for producing organic fertilizer, was in 2002 because of her daughter’s allergy. “My daughter, born in 2000, had an allergy and I had to feed her with organic foods. A Moldavian colleague told me that they grow their vegetables and fruits with worm fertilizer in their country. Then I started researches on this. I found someone that has these worms in the southern province of Antalya and I bought 50 worms for producing fertilizer in my kitchen,” she said. As the worms reproduce fast, Karababa decided to expand her research by visiting 14 facilities in seven countries.

Between 2002 and 2009, Karababa increased the number of the worms without any sale operations. “I rented an area in Istanbul for reproducing the worms and founded the company in 2005. Ekosol entered into the market after obtaining the production license from the ministry in 2010. We moved to our current production facility on 1,500 square meters area in Istanbul for a more ‘industrial’ production. We posted double production rise in 2011 as our turnout increased by three-fold in 2012 when compared to the previous year,” she said.

Ekosol will start exports to European countries by March 2014, Karababa said, stressing that this would be a success to export organic fertilizer from Turkey to the countries that had their own production. She also added that they had already begun talks with the Turkic republics and they would make exports to them simultaneously with Europe.

450 million worms

The number of the worms increased from 50 in 2002 to 450 million today, Karababa said, noting that they produced around 1,200 tons of organic fertilizer last year.

Karababa said 90 percent of their customers were big agriculture enterprises, 4 percent were markets and 6 percent were e-commerce customers. “We reach the customers that grow organic fruits or vegetables in their gardens or balconies via online sale in 2010. We started to sell our Ekosolfarm products in 1 kg and 1.5 kg packages in the big markets,” she said.

Moreover, Karababa underlined that their job has also a social responsibility dimension. The firm introduced a new product ‘Kompost Box’ that includes worms and soil and enables to gain fertilizer by feeding the worms only domestic waste. It contributes to recycling domestic waste while producing organic fertilizer at the same time, she said, adding that they had sold 3,000 Kompost Boxes to households so far.

Karababa said they established a facility in the Aegean province of Manisa at the beginning of this year with $750,000 of investment for the construction and a $400,000 investment for the new equipment. They aim to make investment in the eastern region in 2016. Also, they plan to grow and sell their organic products in the 2015-2016 period. After accomplishing this process, the company may consider the other investors’ offers, Karababa said, stressing that they shouldn’t evaluate partnership projects without completion of the export phase.