By Heidi Trautmann
The most appropriate place to establish a company for organically grown products is opposite a Primary School I thought, when I visited Serap and Mehmet Sebep, the owners of Karkot Ltd. in the company’s small house in Kyrenia just opposite the 23 Nisan Primary School.
Two small dogs watch over the place and if you listen well you hear them say that Serap and Mehmet are most friendly people who like clean nature, proper food and small dogs. I can only confirm that. My first question to them was to find out the reason for establishing a company with such a moral value since, I believe, they are the forerunners in North Cyprus for the idea of organically grown products. They both smile at me and Serap answers: “It was my idea. One day I read an article in a health magazine and it struck me as the most important statement of the year, an eye opener sort of. From that moment on I did some research and dug up more literature on the matter.” What have they been doing before, I asked Serap. “I had a university education as accountant, worked for banks and the accounts department at a university. My husband actually is a librarian and worked for several universities in the course of many years.” We both look at him, a man with a warm and ready smile, instructing a woman client on the background of the organic movement and he offers us all some naturally grown dried fruit to taste. “No pesticides, no unnatural additions to the soil, the most careful treatment.”
Serap continues: “For many months to come we discussed the idea of changing our life altogether and jump into a business adventure which would make more sense to us, give us more satisfaction, because we had started to believe in the movement of healthy products, away from poison, to give our health the best of chances.”
Serap and Mehmet Sebep started their business in 2004 and in the beginning they imported products from Turkey solely. “Today we are also importing products from Switzerland like baby food of the brand “Frau Holle” (Mother Hulda), the Mrs Clean in the fairy tale by the brothers Grimm, and natural baby care products from Germany. In our programme we have other organic products such as pasta, olive oil, sugar, sea salt and tomato products. An important part in our programme are organic wines, the meanwhile well known and appreciated KÜP wines from Turkey but also some local wines.”
I could see the pride in both their faces when they gave me the history of Karkot Ltd. to hear.
“It became our mission to make our people understand the importance of healthy food and so we undertook to make presentations in supermarkets, clinics and in the general hospitals, but also in any other health centres and we have realized over the years a remarkable change in people’s attitude.”
However our dream goes further, we want to support the local vegetable and fruit growers, including olive and wine growers, to learn how to properly use insecticides and manure, make them aware of the quality and the quantity of the “poison” used, to teach them to use substitutes.” I have observed in local newspapers that more and more health officers are checking the products offered in markets and even have them removed when the limit was exceeded.
As I personally had the honour to have Karkot as sponsor for my recent exhibition “My world in Sketches” I know what the delicious KÜP wines taste like. Mehmet adds: “We sometimes do sponsoring the fine arts, it is a pleasure for us, but we mainly do presentations and party services for weddings, parties, meetings and then I take my big self-cooling wine barrel which contains two compartments for white and red wine to surprise people with the quality of KÜP wines.”
It is a story which made me think that a strong belief in something can move mountains. Karkot Ltd. in Kyrenia, Inönü Cad.No.2, is open from Monday to Saturday from 9:00 to 17:00 hrs. Tel. 0533 8633808, 0392-815 1859.