Public-private sectors partnership for organic farming in Eastern Anatolia

01 Feb 2006

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The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Aydin Dogan Foundation are starting a new project in Kelkit region to build a model of organic agricultural production and contractual farming at local level.

New Horizons - The project brings together Dogan Organic Products Company, Ataturk University and Gumushane Governor's Office, as well as Aydin Dogan Foundation and the UNDP who signed a partnership agreement in October 2005 for the next eighteen months.

The joint project of UNDP and Aydin Dogan Foundation has three inter-related main objectives. The first focuses on social development of farmers. The farmers in selected villages of Kelkit will have an opportunity to develop their capacity to access to markets and improve their organizational skills. In addition, women will receive trainings on various

areas such as reproductive health and sanitation. The joint project of UNDP and Aydin Dogan Foundation has three inter-related main objectives. The first focuses on social development of farmers. The farmers in selected villages of Kelkit will have an opportunity to develop their capacity to access to markets and improve their organizational skills. In addition, women will receive trainings on various areas such as reproductive health and sanitation. The second objective is economic growth, focusing on extension services to farmers with a view to increase agricultural efficiency and productivity. With the support of the project, approximately 100 farmers will increase their incomes and improve their socio-economic standards. Thirdly, this model will set a precedent to other rural development initiatives, since it envisages a sustainable partnership of the public and the private sectors, with both corporate social responsibility and profit motives. This model will be communicated to relevant partners and institutions.

The training programme has a two-pillar design, namely training of trainers and training of farmers. There are two main thematic areas in these trainings: Organic agriculture and organic plant production/animal husbandry. The first pillar provides trainings to public extension officers including Provincial/District Agricultural Office and students of the Kelkit Vocational Skills School to increase their extension capacity to target the farmers in the region. Trainings of trainers have already started in January 2006. Following this, the Provincial and District Agricultural Office staff as well as that of Aydin Dogan Vocational School and Dogan Organic Products Company conduct the farmer trainings. Governor's Office in Gumushane will also provide support to the project with machinery equipment and demonstration inputs. Ataturk University provides management support as well as technical assistance in agricultural production.

The trainings will also be supported by demonstrations, which provide an opportunity for the farmers to put theory into practice achieving real results. This in turn will have a demonstrative effect for the rest of the farmers to shift to organic farming. Training programme is conducted in ten selected villages of Kelkit, with which Dogan Organic Products Company has contractual relations.