FAO in Türkiye

FAO and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry launch a new project for earthquake-affected region

Photo: © FAO

Türkiye –A preparatory workshop for formulation of the project “Integrating Good Agriculture Practices to Ameliorate Agricultural Ecosystems in the Earthquake-affected Region in Türkiye” was held in Diyarbakır this week with the aim to reinforce agricultural production capacity damaged in the region by the 2023 earthquakes. The project is being implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MOAF), and is funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF).


FAO officials and representatives from the General Directorate of Plant Production of MOAF and the Provincial Directorates of Agriculture and Forestry of Adana, Hatay, Diyarbakır, Şanlıurfa, Gaziantep, Kilis, Kahramanmaraş, Elazığ, Malatya, Adıyaman and Osmaniye, participated in the workshop along with producer associations and farmers. All the participants engaged in a full exchange of views and ideas, and participated in a topic-based needs analysis to determine agricultural requirements in the region, with a view to meeting the real needs of earthquake-affected provinces through the project.


Ayşegül Selışık, Assistant Representative of FAO-Türkiye, introduced the work of FAO in the region toaddress challenges faced after the earthquake as well as the objectives of the workshop. She continued “This project focuses on good agricultural practices, with an emphasis on strengthening resilience of production in the earthquake affected provinces as well as on combating climate change and land degradation and promoting biodiversity conservation. Within this GEF framework, the primary objective of this workshop is to concentrate on how to ensure access to safe food by consumers, and market access for producers. With this project, our aim is to develop a model that integrates environmentally friendly solutions into production, supports products that increase farmers’ income and ensures that the products produced meet the basic quality criteria  for consumption.”


Mustafa Ertan Atalar, Director of Agriculture and Forestry of Diyarbakır Province,welcomed the participants to Diyarbakir detailing the history of production in the region stressing that it has placed as an instrumental role in evolution of biodiversity and agricultural production being right in the center of the fertile Crescent. He emphasized the extent of the devastation to agriculture in the region caused by the earthquake, and explained that this project will contribute greatly strengthening agricultural production capacity.  


Basak Egesel, Head of Good Agricultural Practices and Organic Agriculture Department, MOAF,stated that agriculture and food are currently shaping all national strategies, with countries worldwide formulating actions and strategic plans for resilient agriculture, sustainability, environmental awareness and environmental of natural resources. She emphasized that certifying quality production through a certification system is inevitable, and noted that voluntary agreements are being signed annually with farmers willing to employ good agriculture practices under the authority of the Ministry, thereby ensuring control over every stage of production.


Erdogan Ozevren, FAO GEF Portfolio Coordinator, described the structure of GEF programmes, highlighting focus areas including implementation of the Biodiversity Convention, climate change, erosion and desertification control, land degradation neutrality and environmental pollution, along with approaches and measures for ensuring the above. He also discussed completed and ongoing projects in Türkiye under the GEF, emphasizing the successes achieved within the scope of these initiatives.


Following opening interventions, the workshop participants discussed in two groups the problems and proposed solutions associated with implementation of Good Agricultural Practices in the target provinces. The discussions, moderated by the project technical lead officer Fazil Dusunceli and the consultants Ufuk Kirmizi, Erol Kahveci and Erhan Akca facilitated detection of the key topics considered by the farmers and producers as critical to strengthen the resilience of the production systems in the region and to overcome challenges faced in expanding good agricultural practices.


The outcomes of this workshop will feed into the drafting of the full project document to be submitted to the GEF Secretariat by FAO experts and officials from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.