Farm Extension Program 2012-2013
HasNa’s 2014 Farm Extension training program is a continuation of the farm extension training program in 2013 which has the broader and long-term goal of establishing a network of farmers, experts, academics and local government officials who collaborate regularly for improving agricultural productivity in southeastern Turkey. In 2013 and 2014, a total of 26 farmers and agricultural engineers from southeastern Turkey have participated in these trainings.
HasNa’s second Farm Extension Training Program took place between 6 July and 19 July 2014. The program provided training on agricultural methods as well as the U.S. farm extension system to 12 farmers and agricultural engineers from Diyarbakir and Sanliurfa. Similar to 2013, the training was led by faculty and farm extension agents from the University of Maryland’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. During the two week long training program, the group visited farms, orchards, agricultural research centers, greenhouses and received theoretical in-class training on topics such as on disease management and pesticide usage.
HasNa has been observing the impact of these trainings on both the productivity of individual farmers and on the extent of cooperation between farmers and agricultural experts in the region. We regularly communicate with our alumni and we receive reports from them about the impact of the farm extension training on their farming practices as well as on their productivity. One of the good examples that demonstrate the impact of these agricultural trainings comes from 2014 HasNa alumni Niyazi Erdemir. Inspired by the mulching system he saw at several farms in Maryland, Mr. Erdemir set up mulch beds on an empty piece of land in his farm which is close to downtown Diyarbakir. He is planning to grow tomatoes in this area in 2015. Some of the most important benefits of using mulch beds consist of keeping the weeds under control, using water more efficiently and minimizing the loss of fruit due to weather. Among the other farmers that participated in HasNa’s agricultural trainings, a significant portion of them have built small greenhouses similar to the ones they have seen in Maryland farms. More importantly, the agricultural engineers among HasNa alumni have set up a volunteer farm extension group and have helped farmers while they were building the irrigation systems and greenhouses. These agricultural experts regularly check on these farmers and give them advice on how to fight diseases and use pesticides. This voluntary collaboration between the participants of HasNa’s farm extension trainings in 2013 and 2014 makes us even more dedicated to our mission of helping Turkish farmers through training and facilitating cooperation between local communities in southeastern Turkey.