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Agricultural skills training to address the impact of the Syrian refugee crisis in Turkey

Enhancing livelihood resilience and social cohesion between refugees and host communities

More than 5 million Syrians have sought refuge in neighbouring countries as a result of the Syrian crisis. Despite the support provided by host governments and humanitarian actors, refugees in the region are becoming increasingly vulnerable. Turkey hosts the largest number of Syrian refugees globally. Over 3.3 million Syrians have fled across the border into Turkey, placing a significant burden on the host communities; however, Syrian refugees have very limited access to formal and full livelihood and employment opportunities. Most of them make a living by offering their services as seasonal agricultural workers and are paid lower wages. This poses risks to both host and refugee communities and can lead to instability and social tension.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) partnered with the private sector and carried out agricultural skills trainings to enhance livelihood opportunities for both Syrian refugees and host communities.

How does the agricultural skills training scheme increase the livelihood resilience of refugees and host communities?

Building on an assessment showing a shortage of agricultural skills in southern and southeastern Turkey, trainings have been delivered to Syrian refugees and host communities. These trainings have focused on livestock care and herd management; cultivation and harvesting of apple, grape, olive, pistachio and cotton crops; harvesting and post-harvest processes for pepper, citrus and pomegranate crops; greenhouse vegetable production; and irrigation management, farm management and food hygiene.

This strengthens food security and builds the resilience of refugees and host communities by diversifying livelihoods and enhancing job opportunities in the food, agriculture and livestock sectors, which have ample scope for employment. The trainings also foster good relations and reinforce social cohesion between the two communities, thereby contributing to social stability in the region.

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