FAO in Türkiye

FAO and Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry jointly implement Farmer Field Schools on agroecology in Bolu

Photo: © FAO

Ankara – Last month, a two-day Farmer Field School (FFS) sessions were delivered on soil cultivation and other techniques with over 30 farmers. The events were organized as a collaborative activity among the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry represented by General Directorate of Agricultural Reform, Field Crops Central Research Institute, Provincial Directorate of Bolu and district directorates of Seben and Yenicaga under the project “Enhancement of agro-ecological management system through promoting ecosystem-oriented food production”.


The events took place in four demonstration areas in the Yeniçağa and Seben districts of Bolu province. The sessions were built on previously conducted, training needs assessment, curriculum development and training of trainer activities. Soil cultivation techniques were introduced and discussed for legumes (lentils and chickpeas), cereals and forage crops (Hungarian vetch, sorghum) in the light of the specific climate and phenological characteristics of Bolu, Türkiye.


As part of the sessions, emergence of winter crops were assessed (IZA wheat and new wheat varieties in Seben district, and Hungarian vetch sown alone and as mixture with barley in Yenicaga district) were assessed. Also, sunflower and sorghum plots were sown as summer crops. Various agroecological practices were discussed among the farmers around the demonstrations including reduced soil tillage, optimal planting times, variety selection and new varieties, crop rotation, certified seed use, appropriate fertilizer application and the use of leonardite as an organic amendment agent to improve soil structure.  


As part of ongoing activities, the farmers and project team will monitor progress of the crops on the demonstration plots covering a 120-decare area throughout the spring and summer period.


During the opening of the event, FAO Assistant Representative in Türkiye, Ayşegül Selışık, emphasized the decreasing availability of land and water resources for agriculture, and highlighted the need to produce more with less. Speaking about the agroecology studies conducted in Bolu province, she underlined the importance of the project saying that “All these efforts will serve as a best practice for Türkiye at national level. Our main goal is adoption of the techniques demonstrated here by the Farmers in their own fields.”


FAO Agriculture Expert and Project Technical Leader, Fazıl Düşünceli, expressed his happiness regarding the results of the preparatory works achieved so far. During the FFS activity, Düşünceli explained that “It is impressive for us to conserve the soil and water resources while improving the productivity through promoting agroecological practices. We are here to listen and share our knowledge and experiences with each other.”

Hümeyra Yaman, Director of the Field Crops Central Research Institute, spoke about the Ministry’s involvement in the project: “Farmers are well prepared for climate change and our institute is ready to assist the farmers by introducing new varieties and their seeds produced in 6 000 decares of land in our research farm in Haymana, Ankara. Our goal here is to listen to each other’s needs and seek solutions jointly. Activities and opportunities for information exchange like this one in Bolu are crucial for the future of agriculture.”

Elif Demirbaş Topçu, Directorate General of Agricultural Reform, emphasized that the concept of agroecology is rapidly gaining momentum worldwide, and is becoming widely adopted. Evolving conditions, especially climate change are pushing producers to acquire and adopt a new understanding of agriculture. She continued: “As time goes on, the concept of agroecology will become increasingly prevalent, and in the future, everyone will understand the significance of this project and the work being done here today.”