Aylin Yıldız

“We don’t waste food because we know reliable food is very precious.”

Turkey

Aylin Yıldız has seen, first-hand, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on agriculture and food systems. Aylin is a farmer in Dağkadı village in Karacabey district, Bursa province, Turkey. She is also President of the Women’s Agricultural Development Cooperative and is responsible for the branding of local crops and seeds. 

The outbreak of COVID-19 required farmers to comply with a sweeping series of regulations related to hygiene and physical distancing in farming.

“We took all the necessary hygiene and safety measures and transported the workers to our gardens and fields.”

Despite this, Aylin said, there were uncertainties about finding enough seasonal workers for the olive groves and gardens, due to worries following the outbreak. Aylin responded by increasing wages.

Before the pandemic, Aylin feared that people had forgotten the importance of farmers and agriculture in general.

“But we saw in the pandemic period that no one ran to buy cars, houses or clothes. All over the world, people were in queues for food. Because the main thing was to be able to eat."

Aylin says she is fortunate to live in a fertile, well-irrigated area. Still, she says, it is vitally important to have quality seeds, good agricultural practices and learn how to combat pests and diseases. She says that proper handling of products beyond the harvest is also essential.

“We don't waste food. Especially during the harvest and packaging period, we take precautions in such a way as to have the least waste possible.” she said. Women farmers’ empowerment is provided by FAO in Turkey in sustainable food and agricultural production, marketing and livelihood activities.   

Aylin looks forward to healthier times for all, but this food hero also hopes that people will continue to appreciate the importance of agriculture and the people who produce our food.

Back