Goat’s milk, particularly recommended by doctors for babies because its properties are similar to breast milk, has attracted the attention of many entrepreneurs.
Baltalı Gıda founder Funda Baltalı, who noticed this trend four years ago, made use of the land she inherited from her father to create a business that now sells goat’s milk to many buyers. Noting that investments in food and livestock breeding are among the most crucial investments in the world, Baltalı says that people living in urban areas are paying attention to the natural foods market and that many young people now want to invest in these sectors.
According to data gathered by the Turkish Statistics Agency (TurkStat), cheese production from goat’s milk, sheep’s milk and mixed milk has risen by 7.4 percent year on year, reaching 150 tons per month. This affects the sale of goat’s milk products in the supermarkets. Goat’s milk and its derivative products, which used to be purchased mainly by rural residents or their relatives in the cities, now interest food industrialists. One of the enterprises attracting attention in this field is Baltalı Gıda, which produces all of its products with goat’s milk.
Funda Baltalı is a law school graduate whose story started with land she inherited from her father which she soon expanded. She notes that she spent time on a farm in the Netherlands to research and learn the details of the business of cattle breeding and adds that she had a chance to do everything there related to cattle breeding. Based on her work there, Baltalı subsequently ordered cattle sperm from Canada to increase productivity in milk production on her own farm. She then branched out from working with dairy cows to goats.
Young people more interested in animal breeding
Her company pays close attention to natural production standards. Arguing that the primary reason for more frequent illness in recent years is the decreased amount of breast milk used to feed babies, Baltalı also points out that the only type of milk that people with lactose intolerance can have is goat’s milk. She also hopes to expand her daily dairy production to providing Ultra High Temperature or UHT milk with a long shelf life.
Noting that there are only a few female entrepreneurs in animal breeding and dairy product sectors, Baltali says that she received negative comments at first. She further says: “There have been times when I was worried. This is a venture and I believe in the job I am doing. There is a huge investment, the total amount is $15 million and we are still investing. Fear is good at some point, for it keeps you alert. You make a mistake when you think that you’re finished.” Noting that the goat’s milk market in Turkey can grow only at a rate of five percent of the cow’s milk market, Baltali also stressed that this is a slow-growing and risky sector. Adding that she has noticed interest from other firms in this sector, Baltali expects that the interest will increase in a few years.
Baltali describes how young people have called to ask for information on goat’s milk production and says: “Recently, I received an email. A math teacher was asking if he could make some progress with only 10 goats. I receive such requests every day from young people. I am thinking of creating small family businesses that will gather goat owners together to sell their milk because of these kinds of questions. I am already laying the foundations for this project.”
Mothers love natural food products
Recalling that in three days they would use one ton of goat’s milk for cheese production in early 2011, she says that they currently use 10 tons of processed milk a day. She adds: “We started with nine workers; currently, we have 61. I invested $15 million and I will keep making further investments. Our turnover goal this year is TL 8 million and we want to increase that to 20 million in 2014.” Noting that her next goal is to start a second, but different kind of farm in the eastern or southeastern region, Baltalı says: “I will take animal breeding to a point where people will know better ways to add value to their milk. Those who have a system will raise their own livestock. We will contribute to the development of the economy in the region. This year, we made a product, “easy yoghurt,” a first in the world and in Turkey that enables everyone to make their own yoghurt. I was also surprised particularly by the interest I’ve seen from young mothers. Next year, we would like to make baby food. We are also working on natural ice cream that has no additives.”