In April 2013, a group of 13 Turkish and Kurdish farmers and agricultural experts participated in HasNa’s farm extension training program. For two weeks, the group received training on vegetable/fruit production and the functions of the U.S. farm extension system at the University of Maryland’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. The participants then returned to Turkey to apply their U.S. training to improve the Turkish farm extension service and increase agricultural production.
First Year Results
• On their own initiative, all 13 participants formed a working group in Turkey to increase collaboration between farmers and agricultural experts in the region. The group has met every month since May 2013 to discuss current projects and identify new ones. As a result of its initiative and outreach, the working group has grown to 26 members in one year.
• Three farmers in the US training applied for HasNa funds and received approximately $5000 each for their projects. Two farmers established greenhouses and the third set up a drip irrigation system. The agricultural experts in the working group helped the three farmers in every phase of their projects to maximize the benefits of the new methods.
• The agricultural extension experts have reached out to other farmers in the region. They met with farmers in eight towns and villages near Diyarbakir to learn about their agricultural problems. Some of the farmer feedback resulted in the planning of demonstration sites to be funded in part by HasNa and other funding sources as required by HasNa’s continuing support.
• In March 2014, HasNa has launched Skype training sessions that focus on specific agricultural topics identified by the working group after talking to local farmers. These Skype training sessions are held at the Diyarbakir Development Center where the monthly working group meets. The trainers are American farm extension agents from the University of Maryland. The participants are both farmers and agricultural experts from the Diyarbakir and Sanliurfa regions. Approximately 30 farmers and agricultural experts attended the first session held in March. Four more training session are planned through July 2014.
• In July 2014, HasNa will hold its Farm Extension II Program in collaboration with the University of Maryland for a new group of 12 to 14 farmers and agricultural experts from southeastern Turkey.