How Did Organic Agriculture Change The Fate of a Village?

Jul 3, 2017

A Small Village in Diyarbakir Without Any Water

Ilgın is a village of Eğil in Diyarbakır province, which is surrounded with water resources but has limited access to water. The village is located on a hill close to Dicle Dam Reservoir and has rough land. The population of the village is almost 500, all of which are engaged in farming and have produced only grain through dry farming for many years.

The fate of the village has changed almost five years ago with the transition to organic agriculture. Today, all organic agriculture activities continue through pilot implementations conducted under GAP Organic Agriculture Cluster Project by Southeast Anatolia Project Regional Development Administration (GAP RDA).

“ We started in 2009 with 34 producers, and now we have 411 producers who are engaged in organic farming in 21.000 decare area. We established Eğil Organic Grain Producers Union in order to unite farmers and not to let them move as an individual."

- Özgür Polat, Eğil Provincial Directorate of Food, Agriculture and Livestock

Through the pilot implementation, some of the important activities such as contract machining of organic lentil and chickpea in the village, the certification of the contract machining facility, packaging of the products, application for Eğil Organic trademark registration, obtaining barcode were ensured. Manuel packaging and labeling machine were also provided to Eğil Organic Grain Producers Union. Moreover, with market oriented production strategies, the production capacity and agricultural productivity improved.

At the first stage we made a deal with farmers on packaging of lentil and chickpea. Now, we already have packaged lentil and we conduct such activities to penetrate the market with our packaged products.”

- Özgür Polat, Eğil Provincial Directorate of Food, Agriculture and Livestock.

Crops Are Flourishing. Now What?

Although the organic products of the village are in demand, due to the limited irrigation potential, production capacity and product range cannot be increased adequately. In order to solve this problem, another pilot implementation was developed: “Increased Productivity and Enhanced Value in Organic Production in Ilgın Village.”

Our village is an arid and dry area. May God bless our state, they drilled two wells for land irrigation. Starting from this year we will grow organic fruits and vegetables in our lands rather than lentil, chickpea, barley, wheat."

- Adem Şimşek, Member of Eğil Organic Grain Producers Union.

 

“ We are farmers. Previously we were doing dry agricultural production, everyone could only meet their own needs and household expenses. But now, we came to a level that we’re not only meeting our needs but also the needs of our citizens. I can say that we provide food for Diyarbakır in terms of organic grain.

- Ahmet Akkoyun, Member of Eğil Organic Grain Producers Union.

With the pilot implementation in Ilgın village, 170 decare area has opened for irrigation, thus 34 farmers involved in organic farming had an access to water. Furthermore, the construction of 600 m3 irrigation pool, irrigation channels and system, moto pump, and electric system were completed.

Our project has a capacity of pumping of 19-20lt/second from two wells.The higher reservoir is at the top with 600 tons of capacity, the main reservoir. And every farmer can make his production without having any difficulty. Already we have valves and water meters in every field.

-Ahmet Akkoyun, Member of Eğil Organic Grain Producers Union.

This pilot implementation is conducted by Southeastern Anatolia Project Regional Development Administration (GAP RDA), in cooperation with Governorship of Diyarbakır, Diyarbakır Provincial Directorate of Food, Agriculture and Livestock, UNDP and Coca-Cola Company. Also the farmers were supported with the trainings on irrigation, wise use of water and sustainable production.

“ We had a meeting at GAP RDA to get this support. The administrator of GAP RDA asked what is our need, what is the most beneficial thing for us. We said water. Water is indispensable and vital for farmers in everywhere and in anytime. If there is no water there is no agricultural activity.”

-Ahmet Akkoyun, Member of Eğil Organic Grain Producers Union.

 

Benefits Provided With Water Pumps

This pioneer project not only increased the production of organic products and employment in the region but also contributed to dissemination of high added value product pattern, enhancing the cooperation among farmers and institutions, improvement of access to markets as well as raising awareness. Now there are many organic production unions established with more than 450 members in the surrounding area.

With starting up of irrigation system that has established by GAP RDA, orchards will be increased in this village, and we will pay more attention to packaging and branding with this accelerating production.”

-Özgür Polat, Eğil Provincial Directorate of Food, Agriculture and Livestock.

Adem Şimşek, the member of Eğil Organic Grain Producers Union is hopeful for Ilgın village, which had a chance to change its fate through organic agriculture and irrigation infrastructure.

Hopefully our soil will become more fertile. Water brings fertility.

Today, all organic agriculture activities continue through pilot implementations conducted under GAP Organic Agriculture Cluster Project by Southeast Anatolia Project Regional Development Administration (GAP RDA).

One of the pilot implementations is “Organic Fruit and Grain Pilot Projectwhich is carried out by Southeastern Anatolia Project Regional Development Administration (GAP RDA) in cooperation with Governorship of Diyarbakır and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).