Flavors from the Fields
TUI Cares for Turkey - TUI Care Foundation is helping small-scale producers in rural south-west Turkey to benefit from the tourism industry. The aim is to improve the livelihoods of farmers and small-scale producers in the Muğla region by boosting the local supply of traditional ingredients and delicacies to hotels, restaurants and gift shops. The area is famous for its honey, olives, citrus fruit, almonds, herbs, pomegranates and fresh vegetables. Traditional delicacies made from fresh produce, such as oil, vinegar and jam, will be bought by hotels for their kitchens and gift shops. The three-year project will support local producers to develop a range of goods that appeal to hotels and customers, and will work with hotels towards sourcing more products locally, and promote the local products to holidaymakers.
Muğla is a predominantly rural area, characterized by agriculture and tourism. Tourism is booming especially in the coastal areas known as the “Turquoise Coast”. Greater involvement of the rural population and local economy is a step towards a more inclusive and sustainable development of the whole region. However, small-scale growers struggle to maintain farming as a sustainable livelihood as most of their produce is sold directly to local markets, traders, and wholesalers at low prices. The farmers and village communities rarely grow by adding value to the raw ingredients, for example by turning olives into olive oil, or table olives, with appealing packaging and branding. Local producers are not well positioned to sell their goods to the tourism sector, which instead often has to use large-scale wholesalers and distributors that source goods from much further afield, or imports from other countries.
By creating new or improved products, and selling to new buyers, farmers and producers in Muğla province will have more secure, sustainable livelihoods. And, of course, holidaymakers visiting Muğla can enjoy locally made artisanal foods. To do this, the project will offer locals training and support to help them develop state of the art products that are suitable for the tourism sector and holidaymakers from all over the world.
The support will focus on 4 key elements:
- Working with village cooperatives and small enterprises to identify business opportunities and support the development of new products.
- Attending producer fairs, and “brokering” buying agreements between producers and tourism businesses.
- Working with the tourism industry to change procurement practices and make it easier to buy from small, local suppliers to sell their products
- Supporting hotels to hold tasting events for customers, so they can find out more about the delicacies and how they are produced. Customers may eventually also have an opportunity to go on excursions that visit some of the producers involved in the project.
Holidaymakers may also have opportunities to go on cultural excursions to visit some of the cooperatives participating in the project. This way, Flavors from the Fields creates shared value for local communities, the tourism industry, and holidaymakers alike.
The Travel Foundation is an international charity working to maximise the positive impact of tourism.