Truffles have a world trading volume of $3.5 billion, and Turkey has a target to reach $350 million, grabbing a 10% share in the short term, Agriculture and Forestry Minister Bekir Pakdemirli said. An annual trade volume of $6 billion worldwide is expected in the next 20 years according to estimates by economists, he added.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, the General Directorate of Forestry (OGM) set the trade volume target for world markets sought-after truffle fungus species as $350 million. Thus, a truffle garden was established on an area of 357 hectares in Turkey.
Minister Pakdemirli said that truffles were a source of livelihood for nearly 200 families in Turkey, stressing that due to its natural distribution in a limited region and short cultivation, the price of truffles varied between 100 euros ($112) and 500 euros depending on the type and quality. "Today, France provides 45% of truffles, with a world trade volume of $3.5 billion, followed by Spain with 35% and Italy and other countries with 20%," he added.
The truffle, which was not on Turkey's agenda until nearly six years ago, is at the center of the attention of many sections of society, from hunters to investors, from consumers to tourism operators. The truffle, the fruiting body of a subterranean fungus, is increasing its value on a global scale every year. That truffles grow naturally in Turkey indicates that the country has suitable conditions for truffle cultivation.
The OGM has prepared the Truffle Forest Action Plan, put into action in 2014 to identify the richness of Turkey, to raise public awareness, to provide new earnings to rural people and to bring this wealth to the country's economy.
As part of the Action Plan, 4,000 people were given practical and theoretical training to create truffle ecology, economy, gardening, searching in nature and storing, to raise public awareness and to attract the attention of forest villagers. A garden was built on 357 hectares of truffle grafted oak saplings. As a result of these studies, two tons of truffles were produced last year.