Who should inform farmers about drought?
Climate change is now the world’s number one problem.
There are some countries that take climate change very seriously while there are others that either ignore the problem or pay little attention to it.
China has repeatedly stated it is ready to take radical measures regarding climate change.
France asserts itself as a model country in the fight against climate change.
Some industries have also set out targets.
For instance, the global aviation industry targets to halve emissions emanating from global air traffic by 2050.
However, it is difficult to see how this would happen when the number of flights has been on the rise.
Nevertheless, governments and industries are doing their part.
Studies, particularly from NASA, suggest that Turkey might face severe drought in coming years.
Drought poses risks to agriculture
According to Prof. Dr. Yusuf Demir from the faculty of agriculture at Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University, there are different forms of drought: Meteorological, hydrologic and agricultural.
Change in rainfall regimes and decline in rainfall refer to meteorological drought, while reduction in water resources refers to hydrologic drought.
Demir said agricultural drought is one of the most serious problems.
I would like to refer to a study by Barış Karapınar at Sabancı University’s Istanbul Policy Center titled, “A survey of farmers’ adaptation to climate change.”
According to the survey that was conducted with 700 farmers in nine districts and 122 villages in the provinces of Ankara, Kırklareli and Adana, 97 percent of farmers have a first-hand experience of climate change.
For me, the most striking finding in the survey is that farmers said they receive training, information and support regarding climate change mostly from private companies, not from state institutions.
Is it not interesting that there are so many chambers of agriculture but it is the private sector that provides support to farmers?
Some 40.5 percent of farmers surveyed said they had contacted agricultural pesticides and seed companies over the past 12 months regarding climate change, while 35 percent said they had contacted an agricultural engineer. Some 25 percent said they had contacted the local directorate of agricultural affairs.
Only 8.3 percent of surveyed said they attended workshops to learn about how to mitigate the impact of climate change, while 89 percent suggested they had received financial aid or support following a natural disaster.
This is my conclusion: When it comes to drought and farmers, it is the private sector that grasped the seriousness of the problem, not public institutions like the chambers of agriculture.
The information industry association (TÜBİSAD) that represents Turkey’s informatics sector, which grew to 94.3 billion Turkish Liras in 2016, recently published a report entitled “Turkey’s transformation into digital economy.”
Kübra Erman, who has been serving as the board chair at TÜBİSAD since 2015, notes that Turkey has made considerable progress in transforming itself into a digital economy, but what else should be done about it?
“Given the progress that has been made, Turkey is still not where it should be,” Erman said.
The most striking finding in the report is: Turkey is among the countries that risk facing “the deepening of inequalities,” which is one of the dangers the digital revolution has created.
In terms of the use of information technologies, there is inequality between small and large companies. Also, there are huge gaps between women and men, old and young people and between educated and uneducated.
In the area of social media, young people in Turkey are far behind their peers in other countries when it comes to using computers and the internet.
The scale of inequality between small and large companies is illustrated in a study entitled “SMEs and E-Commerce” carried out by the e-trade platform www.gittigidiyor.com.
According to the study, 300 out of 500 SMEs do not engage in e-trade.
Seven out of 10 SMEs do not plan to engage in e-trade in the near future, citing “insufficient funds,” “lack of knowledge” and “mistrust” as reasons.