First harvest of Ülker’s high-yielding biscuit wheat “Aliağa”
The project launched by Ülker to ensure high-quality and sustainable production, to secure wheat supply for many years, and to produce local and national biscuit wheat has yielded its first fruits. Expressing the proud in making the first harvest of Aliağa Wheat, Ülker CEO Mete Buyurgan said the goal is to meet more than half of the need for wheat with this variety by 2023.
Turkey’s leading food company Ülker collaborated with Konya Bahri Dağdaş International Agricultural Research Institute to develop Aliağa Wheat that is suitable for biscuit flour, high-yielding, resistant to diseases, climate change and drought, and the first harvest has recently been made.
Launched in 2007 to ensure high-quality and sustainable production and secure wheat supply for many years, the project works on developing an ideal wheat variety for biscuit production. First trials were made on the Institute’s agricultural lands between 2007 and 2011, then the wheat developed between 2011 and 2014 were tested on various locations. As a result of these trials, Aliağa Wheat was selected for sowing, and application for registration was made in 2014. Aliağa Wheat successfully passed all tests by the Variety Registration and Seed Certification Center of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry for two years on different locations and conditions, and has been registered. Between 2017 and 2019, seed production was made on the Institute’s lands to extend the use of the wheat.
First sowing in November 2019
Stating that Ülker has covered a great distance in recent years in sustainability projects, CEO Mete Buyurgan said: “All of our practices are in accordance with the ‘Wasteless Company’ model that aims efficient and sustainable use of resources. We operate in line with the sustainability principle in all processes – from seeds to every stage of production and access to consumers. Sustainable raw material supply is an important topic for us. And wheat is a critical raw material. Therefore, we are delighted to implement such an important project on behalf of our company and our country. We are very excited to make the first harvest of Aliağa Wheat that we first sowed in November 2019 on a total area of 70 hectares in Konya and Ankara. We reached our target of 300 tons of seed production in this harvest. We will sow these seeds again in 2020 season to gain more seeds. We aim to meet more than half of our need for biscuit wheat with Aliağa by 2023.”
Less water consumption, higher yield
Stating that Ülker is delighted to lead the industry with the new local and national wheat presented to manufacturers, Ülker Ankara Flour Factory General Manager Ali Çelik said: “The results of our first harvest clearly show that Aliağa Wheat will contribute greatly in meeting the demands of both the biscuit industry and industrialists producing breadstuff. This wheat is 17-20 percent better-yielding on wetlands and this yield increases to 40-60 percent per 1,000 square meters of dryland. Another advantage of Aliağa Wheat’s higher yield on dryland compared to other wheat varieties is that it consumes less water. In the future, we will continue to support our farmers as much as we can to increase their income.”
In addition, Ankara Flour Factory Commercial Director Mehmet Ekici said they expect high demand from industries other than biscuit producers as well and added: “We are delighted to see the interest of farmers in this seed. We are especially proud to see that especially the farmers of the Konya Plain has had such high yield for the first time.”
“We achieved the highest yield from Aliağa”
Underlining that the farmers are very happy with the high-yielding quality of Aliağa Wheat, farmer İlyas Kahveci commented as follows: “This is a very good wheat variety, with high quality and high level of hectoliters. We have not witnessed such high yield in any other wheat varieties so far. I believe it will be very good for our agriculture and farming. We will sow Aliağa Wheat in the coming years as well. In addition, we will use the high-quality stems for our livestock.”