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Steel Protection by Erdemir for The Historical Ottoman Strawberry of Ereğli

The first fruit harvest took place in “Plow the Field, Keep the Tradition” corporate social responsibility project carried out under the leadership of Erdemir to sustain the famous Ottoman Strawberry of Karadeniz Ereğli and to support protecting the biodiversity. The project was launched in 2016 with the aim of preserving the Ottoman Strawberry which has been associated with Ereğli and which the production has almost stopped in years, supporting the growers with high quality seedling production and increasing the production amount of strawberry; and the first harvest of the project was made with the attendance of growers from Ereğli, Karadeniz Ereğli District Governor Nazım Madenoğlu, provincial and district protocol and Erdemir executives.

Carrying out efforts for the social development of Ereğli for more than half a century, Erdemir, a company of OYAK Mining Metallurgy Group, has received the first result in its efforts to support the production of the historical Ottoman Strawberry, which the production has almost stopped. Launched in 2016 with the cooperation of Ereğli District Food, Agriculture and Livestock Directorate, Ereğli National Education Directorate and Association for Spreading Ottoman Strawberry and Protecting the Growers, “Plow the Field, Keep the Tradition” project first focused on high quality seedling production and reproduction in line with the sustainability principles.

“Growers are returning back to the production of Ottoman Strawberry”

Giving a speech at the harvest ceremony, Erdemir General Manager Salih Cem Oral stated that the production of Ottoman Strawberry has decreased in the region in years and that they have launched “Plow the Field, Keep the Tradition” project in order to bring this valuable species associated with the region to the next generations. Oral said, “Within the scope of its sustainability principles, OYAK Group acts on the principle of preserving the local, cultural and environmental values in addition to the economic development of each region that it operates in. Erdemir, a company of OYAK, supports its fellow countrymen, its hometown for 53 years. We are pleased that we are contributing to the protection of Ottoman Strawberry, a trademark of Ereğli. I would like to take this opportunity to extend my thanks to District Food, Agriculture and Livestock Directorate, National Education Directorate and Association for Spreading Ottoman Strawberry and Protecting the Growers who launched this project with their know-how and experience. I also would like to thank our growers who contributed to increasing the production area. I hope the Ottoman Strawberry will reach the high yield levels in 1930s-40s in the coming days, and will become an area of production that adds more value to the local economy.

Stating that the production of Ottoman Strawberry at Karadeniz Ereğli has reduced to 700 kg annually and that the number of growers has decreased, Salih Cem Oral continued, “We harvested the first fruits of the project we launched in 2016. The soil will be better one year later and the harvest amount will increase. We will provide the healthy seedlings we are raising to several more volunteered growers, and we will achieve the target of spreading the production we set for the project. It is very valuable for us to see the enthusiasm of the growers from Ereğli to return back to growing Ottoman Strawberry. Growers are returning back to the fields, to growing Ottoman Strawberry. We are proud to see this.”

Step by step efforts carried out within the scope of the project actually launched in 2016

  • Strawberry seedlings were sent to Antalya for being reproduced in culture labs.
  • The land set as the production area has been prepared for planting by enriching the soil and an irrigation system was installed.
  • Agricultural equipment was bought.
  • Growers to carry out the production at the project area are determined.
  • The out-of-service school building on the land is converted into a training hall and rest areas for the growers.
  • A cold air chamber is established for protecting the seedlings.
  • 5 thousand strawberry seedlings are planted by Erdemir in April 2017, the number of seedlings are increased to 15 thousand and the seedlings met with the soil in October 2017.
  • Frigo seedlings kept in cold air are delivered by the District Food, Agriculture and Livestock Directorate to the families determined.
  • Families, who received seedlings, will plant the seedlings on their land in June 2018. Activities at the project area will continue with the sustainability approach.