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Scientists, experts, farmers in Konya to focus on Conservation Agriculture

The potential of Turkey’s Konya Closed Basin to adopt an environmentally more sustainable approach to crop production – known as Conservation Agriculture – will be discussed at a three-day international conference opening here today. 

Attended by representatives from 18 countries, the conference will also aim to hammer out a strategy for accelerating the spread of Conservation Agriculture – taking into account local biophysical, economic, social, policy, and institutional factors. 

Conservation Agriculture, which is promoted by FAO, has three main elements:  minimum soil disturbance, diversification of cropping systems, and covering the soil with mulch or cover crops. It improves soil fertility and restores moisture – particularly important in dry areas such as the Konya Closed Basin. While conserving natural resources, Conservation Agriculture can also improve crop yields, economic returns, and food security. 

This week’s conference brings together scientists, experts and farmers from 18 countries of Central and West Asia and North Africa. Participants will analyse a preliminary study on the potential of Conservation Agriculture here, as well as opportunities and hindrances to adopting Conservation Agriculture in their own countries. 

The event – which is co-hosted by FAO and the Turkish Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock – is one activity in a major two-year project on agricultural adaptation to climate change in steppe ecosystems. The project is jointly financed by the European Union and the Republic of Turkey, and implemented by FAO. 

The conference kicked off today with presentations on the status of Conservation Agriculture in Turkey, and research and development for Conservation Agriculture in Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Morocco, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Turkey, Spain, Syria and others.

Day two is designed as an exchange of experience among scientists, experts and farmers involved in promoting and practicing Conservation Agriculture systems in different countries and agro-climatic conditions. Also on the agenda is a discussion of how Conservation Agriculture can help build resilience to drought.

On day three, participants will make a field visit to pilot sites established under the steppe ecosystems project, observing and evaluating Conservation Agriculture in farmers’ fields.

“Farmers in Turkey have been applying the elements of Conservation Agriculture for many years, and have great experience to share with colleagues at the region,” FAO agricultural officer Hafiz Muminjanov said in his opening remarks. “At the same time, they are keen to learn from the experiences of other countries on research and development pm Conservation Agriculture, and how it can be promoted through national policies and strategies.” 

Conservation Agriculture is a key element of Climate-Smart Agriculture, significantly contributing to sustainable intensification of crop production and climate change mitigation, Muminjanov added.

5 July 2017, Konya, Turkey 

DOGER/AIEBA/TR2012/0740.14-2/GRA/024 Agricultural Implications for Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EBA) to Climate Change in Steppe Ecosystems Project” is a two year project co-financed by the European Union and the Republic of Turkey. The project is implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). The Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock is the Beneficiary of the project. The Central Finance and Contracts Unit is the Contracting Authority of the project. The budget of the project is approximately €3 million. 

This document has been produced with the financial assistance of the European Union. The views expressed herein can in no way be taken to reflect the official opinion of the European Union.

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