By / June 25, 2020

Turkey aims to become a major player in the global cannabis market

In the next few years, Turkey will be another major world producer of hemp and cannabis. The Turkish government is laying the foundations for this and the results will soon be seen.

The main agenda of Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan is hemp production and the industry surrounding it. Last year, he announced his commitment to this low THC cannabis crop, and already now the result is being seen in hectares cultivated.

The hemp era begins in Turkish agriculture and industry. There is practically no sector where hemp is not used or can be used. In the textile and automobile industry, in medicine, beauty, construction, food, biofuels and more.

Turkey has two indigenous varieties, Narli and Vizier, and they will soon be registered. The Turkish press reported that several factories are already open for hemp processing. In fact, the Turkish Ministry of Agriculture has placed emphasis on the production of the plant, and last year 1,000 hectares were already cultivated.

Turkey is focusing its research on cannabis and hemp projects

Dr. Selim Aytac is the director of the Samsun Ondokuz Cannabis Research Institute Mayıs University (OMÜ) and has been working with this plant since 2013. “We have given lectures and training in several provinces to raise awareness. We have proposed projects to many institutions.”

Dr. Aytac is currently working on eight hemp projects. “With the speech of President Tayyip Erdogan last year, the bad perception of hemp in both public and private has been broken. We had a hard time working in this field. We founded the institute in April last year.”

Erdem Ulaş is the head of the Hemp Institute at the Dr. Avrasya Strategic Research Center (ASAM) and said that this year hemp will be the main agricultural plant. Worldwide, about 255,000 hectares are cultivated this year, and China, Canada, and France are the biggest growers.

The goal as the ASAM Hemp Institute is to produce 200 tons of seeds this year in the September harvest. “In 2016-2017, we had 265 kilograms of seed. By the end of 2023, we can reach 1 million tons in national seed reserves.”

According to the figures we received from our members, almost 15 tons of seeds were produced in 2019. Fiber production was also between 25-30 tons. The hemp plants reach a height of 5 meters in 5 months, and about 50 thousand types of products are made from hemp.

The Turkish cannabis industry is developing and promises good results

The new Cannabis Research Institute will be established at Yozgat Bozok University, which already specializes in this plant and produces flour from hemp seeds. The majority of the area cultivated with hemp is in Samsun, which accounts for half of all domestic production. 

Eleven other Turkish provinces are also currently growing hemp and more provinces are expected to join in the coming seasons.

Professor Aytaç said: “In the coming period, Samsun will play a major role in hemp production. Hemp processing facilities started to be established in the organized industrial zone of Havza. The hemp will be harvested from the field and brought to the facility. It can be marketed as semi-finished or complete. An old factory in Amasya Gümüşhacıköy is being modernized and equipped with a spinning mill. It is expected to be operational by mid-July.”

In addition, the doctor said that he is waiting for the registration of two Turkish seed varieties such as ‘Narlı’ and ‘Vizier’. The average production of one hectare of cannabis area cultivated for fiber would be 100 kilos in Turkey.


(Featured image by Shelby Ireland via Unsplash)

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