ANKARA — Turkey has voiced its growing concern over the direction in which agriculture is headed. A much needed response came from The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in dealing with the on-going topic: research done by FAO shows agriculture employs 27 percent of the country’s workforce and generates 9 percent of the gross national product.
Seeking to revive a distinct portion of its economy, the country accepted outside help in order to adapt a new agricultural program.
A portion of Turkey’s agricultural issues derive from drought-related matters as the government in both local and national levels responds to droughts mostly as a re-active emergency. Overall, there is a lack of guiding documents, strategies, training and participation programs geared towards agriculture. This gap limits the possibilities for consistent and harmonious integration of management principles and plans, and thereby decreases the country’s readiness to better include drought in Turkey’s national programs and joint-action plans.
This deficiency cannot continue.
There is an obligation to employ a much more integrated system to better the lives of constituents, as well as all parties involved in the circumstance.
The diverse ecology of Turkey demands attention to be divided down to a regional degree, in order to make the most of the contributed funds. The current economy is already well-positioned to utilize the abundant natural resources and structure-sustainable initiatives to alleviate drought impacts. Throughout the second phase of the Turkey Partnership Program, FAO will enact the Turkish Agricultural Drought Action Plan, in an attempt to outline priority areas to address permanent preparedness and drought mitigation measures.
The present agricultural program fails to meet the conditions of the country as whole; therefore, the presence of guidance from start, application, finish and follow-up could create an increase in profitability for laborers and the land cultivated.
The annual rainfall varies greatly throughout Turkey with an annual rainfall of 630 millimeters. Even though the coastal regions surrounding the Mediterranean and Black Sea experience heavy rainfall, much of the central, southern, and south-east regions fail to receive such bounty. One of the main goals of FAO in the upcoming years is to acquire a firm grasp on the climatic variety of Turkey as a whole and appropriately address and support each of its regions.
The organization aims to influence the political sector with scientific data, which will cause a re-direction towards commitment on development aimed at reducing internally inherent risks as well as building communities with resilience to drought.
The research has already caused a unification and cooperation between the Ministry of Forestry & Water Works and the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock. A more collaborative work force will help to get rid of existing restrictions. The main issue that emerges out of drought-related issues is the efficiency of irrigation methods, including water-efficient sprinkling and drip irrigation technologies. These types of technologies are only used on 6 percent of the total irrigation area, while 94 percent of the area remains insufficiently addressed.
Additionally, irrigation often causes depletion and contamination of surface and groundwater.
To overcome these problems, Turkey must find sustainable uses of natural resources, raise awareness on climate change impacts, provide technical assistance and training programs and develop agricultural data for more effective decision making. A more connected farming population will be able to reach a higher yield of crops, as well as reduce environmental imprints. Local origination of these methods will be the long-term symbol of success in Turkey.
A positive result from the cited routes will play into policy making and the creation of new agricultural guidelines. Much of the responsibility will be absorbed by the Special Provincial Administration, in order to evaluate and enhance areas including soil protection, prevention of erosion, education, health, agriculture, industry and trade.
There is also an added responsibility on the agricultural sector in regards to the Syrian refugee crisis in Turkey.
Currently, Turkey has the highest number of Syrian refugees globally with 2,854,968 residing within the nation’s borders. FAO will strive to merge improving the lives of refugees with improving the agricultural sector.
Due to the background of the majority of Syrian refugees, agriculture will be a proper route to take in an attempt to provide food security, livelihood and coordination. The Syrian Refugee Resilience Plan will primarily target the southern border and areas of major food production and export, with special focus on Izmir and Istanbul.
By taking the proper measures of providing technical support, job placement, access to the labor market and introduction to new technology systems, Turkey will become a much more beneficial country of residence for the Syrian population.
The leadership of FAO must be met with the cooperation of the Turkish government in order to utilize agriculture and agricultural practices to the benefit of the nation’s population. A suppressing governmental regime has cast its shadow long enough over laborers; however, coordination with third party organizations could go onto serve as the basis of a bipartisan Turkish society.
The fields of food security, agricultural/rural development, management of natural resources, an agricultural program and food safety will be essential routes towards a poverty-free future for Turkish citizens and Syrian refugees.
– Efe Ulucay