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Forget gold and dollars: Invest in salep, the new green gold of Trabzon

May 28, 2024

In Trabzon, the production of salep, which has been increasing in recent years as an alternative to hazelnuts and tea, is being sold for ₺1,500 per kilogram. Salep or orchid root, which can be produced from coastal areas to high altitudes, is progressing toward becoming the region’s new source of income.

In the Eastern Black Sea Region, salep has become the alternative product for producers who traditionally rely on hazelnuts and tea for their livelihoods. The increasing production of salep in recent years has yielded positive results in Trabzon. Salep, which can be produced from coastal areas to high-altitude hills, has become a profitable investment as an additional source of income for producers, thanks to its high yield and price.

Salep production, which can be certified with permission from the government in Türkiye, has reached 45 producers in the city. Salep, which is classified among medicinal and aromatic plants, is being produced on a certified 15-acre farm by a private company in Trabzon, with approval from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.

High returns


Altun emphasized the importance of soil structure before starting salep production.

“If the soil is heavy, we try to soften it. We want everyone with the means to start producing, even if it’s just 10 kilograms. Salep is a product that lives and reproduces in the soil. We are trying salep production with our 45 producers across all regions of Trabzon. While people see salep just as a flower, there is gold beneath its roots. Today, it’s priced at 1,500 lira per kilogram. You plant it in a square meter and you can get ₺3000-₺4000. If you have a 100 square-med garden, it’s worth as much as a 20-acre hazelnut orchard. One person can easily manage it. It’s such a profitable business.”

‘You’ll get ₺4,500, reinvest ₺1,500’

Altını dövizi bırakın, herkes onu alıyor! Kilosu 1500 TL'den satılıyor - 1. Resim

Altun emphasized their intention to increase salep production.

“Salep production varies with altitude, with lower altitudes yielding earlier. There’s about a one-month difference between lower and higher altitudes. In the Aegean Region, harvesting is already complete because of the warm climate. It takes one month longer because of the clear weather, humidity, and our high-altitude planting. If you plant salep worth ₺1,500 today, you’ll get ₺4,500 and reinvest ₺1,500, allowing you to harvest again next year. It’s a highly productive and profitable business. A 100-square-meter plot can earn you ₺400,000, and one hectare can earn ₺4 million. We’ve planted salep on 15 acres and plan to increase production gradually. We’re waiting for government support, as we are currently doing everything on our own without any external help.”

‘I invest in salep instead of foreign currencies’

Altını dövizi bırakın, herkes onu alıyor! Kilosu 1500 TL'den satılıyor

“Trabzon ranks second after Samsun in the Black Sea Region for salep production. People try it on a small scale because the product is expensive, making it difficult to buy. Not everyone can afford the initial investment. If you can’t pay for a large quantity, you can start with 5-10 kilograms, multiply it over time, and eventually create a garden. If I had the means, I wouldn’t invest in foreign currencies; I would invest in salep. It spends 12 months in the soil, and even if you don’t harvest it, it remains there for 24 months, continuing to reproduce. You harvest the salep, collect it, replant the mother plant, and harvest again the next year. Unlike hazelnuts or tea, there’s no heavy lifting involved. People who grow salep don’t do manual labor,” Altun said.

Last Updated:  May 31, 2024 3:15 PM