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Promoting agricultural livelihoods in Turkey through the Syrian refugee response

Promoting agricultural livelihoods in Turkey through the Syrian refugee response

10/03/2020

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), in collaboration with Food Security and Agriculture (FSA) sector in Turkey, organized a workshop entitled: “Promoting agricultural livelihoods in the refugee response”. The workshop intended to develop policy between the FSA sector partners and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry at the central and provincial level to facilitate the implementation agricultural livelihood interventions in the context of the response to the current Syrian refugee crisis in Turkey.

It also aimed to provide the opportunity for participants to discuss and exchange information on agricultural development programmes, and how these programmes can foster farm resilience, generate and stabilize farm income and reinforce existing initiatives for both refugees and host communities. The training workshop was held at the Savon Hotel in Antakya and lasted for two days from 20 to 21 February 2020.

The workshop gathered about 50 participants from national, international and governmental entities who are interested in food and agricultural programmes in Turkey. In attendance were the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, local authorities from the Hatay Directorate of Provincial Agriculture and Forestry (PDoAF), as well as the Chamber of Agriculture of Hatay and district level authorities.

In her presentation Mrs Şule Özge İmamoğlu, the Head of the International Organizations of the Directorate General of the European Union and Foreign Relations of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MoAF), provided background information on the support MoAF provides to food and agriculture projects under the Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan. She also shared the Government’s vision for agribusiness interventions involving Syrians under Temporary Protection.

Mr Ergün Çolakoğlu, the Director of Hatay Directorate of Agriculture and Forestry, emphasized the continued and inclusive support from PDoAF in Hatay for all food and agriculture projects in the region. In his speech, Mr Selahattin Yalman, the Coordinator of the Chamber of Agriculture in Hatay, acknowledged the presence of national and international agriculture and food security actors in Hatay. There are 12 Chambers of Agriculture available in the district of Hatay with 55 000 members. He stressed that these actor play a crucial role in managing agricultural workers and meeting their needs.

The FSA sector partners and local authorities had the opportunity to discuss the refugee response, specifically addressing farm resilience and income generation for Syrians under Temporary Protection and host community members in the agriculture sector. During an agency specific intervention session two FSA sector partners, Welthugerhilfe and Islamic Relief, shared the experiences and challenges which they faced during the implementation period as well as the results from their food and agriculture interventions.

In the second day of the workshop, information management tools of the FSA sector were introduced, including an explanation on information management responsibilities, the activity information database, dashboards and new sector indicators with targets. Following, a field visit was conducted to the greenhouse facility where mushrooms are produced by Syrian refugees inside Yayladağı Temporary Accommodation Centre. Twenty-five greenhouses were established by Welthugerhilfe within the scope of the project. The project is being implemented in collaboration with District Governorate of Yayladağı, and at the end of the project the greenhouse facility will be transferred to the Governorate.

The two-day workshop provided the participants with concrete knowledge on planning, designing and implementing an agribusiness programme. The participants found it very useful and relevant to their work in the refugee response.

FAO, who has a leading role in the FSA sector of the Regional Refugee Resilience Plan, will continue to coordinate Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) and international NGOs, United Nations Agencies, local and govermental entities, PDoAFs and municipalities by bringing them together. This will enable partners to overcome the challenges in the implementation of agricultural livelihood programmes in the refugee response and build the capacity of sector partners throughout the year.

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