Farmers throughout the region of Diyarbakir, in southeastern Turkey, face numerous obstacles to competing in Turkey’s produce market because of diseases, pests, and adverse climactic conditions. However, the most difficult obstacle is the lack of access to modern agricultural techniques and training opportunities. While many Turkish agricultural experts are knowledgeable about the challenges farmers face, there is a widespread lack of communication between specialists in the laboratories and farmers in the fields. HasNa is providing training on farm extension services to both farmers and experts in southeastern Turkey to help them overcome these obstacles. Distance education is one way to bridge this information gap and help connect farmers directly to agricultural expertise. In addition to distance education, HasNa is bringing a small group of leader farmers and experts every year and giving them a two-week long training on the functions and advantages of the farm extension system.
Using the method of distance education, HasNa provides domestic and international training opportunities to farmers by collaborating with Turkish and American agricultural experts who teach farmers how to improve their productivity.
HasNa’s farm extension program brings together diverse Turkish vegetable farmers, agricultural specialists, and researchers with professors from the University of Maryland to find solutions to production and marketing problems facing farmers in the region. The program, which began in January 2012, uses distance education methods to develop ongoing relationships between farmers, university faculty, and research institutions in the United States and Turkey.
The farm extension program aims to provide Turkish farmers in villages throughout Diyarbak?r and ?anl?urfa with the knowledge, resources, and support they need to continually thrive and advance best practices in the region. HasNa’s local partner in Diyarbakir, the Development Center Association, is a regional hub for local development, cross-disciplinary collaboration, and the socioeconomic advancement of the region. The Development Center Association provides training in a variety of areas, including English and development programming, and conducts research on topics relevant to regional development.
In April 2013, thirteen farmers and agricultural experts selected by the Development Center came for a two-week training program in the US. During the first two days of the program, the participants received conflict resolution and communications skills training from the Center for Dispute Settlement. The remainder of the program was dedicated to agricultural training led by Dr. Dale Johnson, a farm extension specialist from the University of Maryland's College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. The participants also visited farms, green houses, and vegetable growing lands to observe modern agricultural techniques in practice.