Academy to raise new generation of farmers

Academy to raise new generation of farmers

Erdinç Çelikkan - ANKARA
Academy to raise new generation of farmers

A “farmersacademy” is being established in order to increase the efficiency in agricultural production, increase the interest of young people in animal husbandry and raise conscious producers throughout Turkey.

Mustafa Sarıoğlu, president of the Turkish Agriculture, Livestock and Beekeeping Federation (TAHAP), announced that they will start an education campaign in the field of agriculture and livestock.

“Our unemployed youth will receive training in the academy to be established in 81 provinces of Turkey,” he said.

“We do not want to leave a single inch of uncultivated land in Anatolia with the culture of ‘imece.’”

“İmece” is the name given to a traditional Turkish village-scale collaboration, in which a task in hand is completed with the voluntary participation of all villagers.

In his meeting with a group of journalists, Sarıoğlu noted that with the TAHAP Academy, which is scheduled to be launched after Eid al-Fitr, they will start an educational campaign for those who are keen on agriculture, animal husbandry and beekeeping, blended with the knowledge of academics and the experience of farmers.

The academy will be the lifeline for unemployed agricultural engineers, food engineers and veterinarians, Sarıoğlu noted.

“There are over 3 million hectares of uncultivated vacant land in Turkey,” he said.

“In order to reduce foreign dependency in agriculture and become a self-sufficient country in all aspects, these areas must be evaluated correctly and used for agriculture. We see agriculture and animal husbandry as a matter of national security.”

Sarıoğlu said the new generations should be involved in agricultural production.

“One of the biggest deficiencies in our country is the alienation of our youth from production,” he said.

“We have completed all of our infrastructure preparations to develop them as trained animal and bee breeders, especially for the use of the uncultivated lands.”

Sarıoğlu said the project would cover a wide range of costs, from rent for vacant lands to equipment needed for agricultural production.

“The training here will be on-site and practical, he said. “We will have established the infrastructure of the project in all seven geographical regions in Turkey. Our main goal is to bring the imece culture back to life by touching all hearts. We will implement this project in 81 provinces. Maybe we will start the project in a farm or a village in Anatolia, in a place where there are historical beehives.”

Sarıoğlu said he expects the food prices to drop within the summer months, adding that inspection of food should be increased to ensure consumer health.

“There should be no compromise on food safety,” he said.

“Health expenditures are among the first four of Turkey’s largest expenditure items. Food terrorism is at the root of diabetes and cancer diseases. We do not want to see a starch-based sugar product being sold as honey in markets. We don’t want hotels serving cream but call it butter. We think that the people of our country deserve healthy food.”