It has become a very fashionable saying, not to dwell on the past (not to be living in the past) and to stay in the moment, to focus on the moment. If it is said in a psychological sense, for reasons of sadness and depression, it may be true…

However, looking at the past from time to time and taking lessons will prevent us from making the same mistakes today. What Akif (Mehmet Akif Ersoy, the poet of the Turkish National Anthem) meant when he said that if lessons were learnt, would they repeat themselves, is actually a summary of my idea… ‘Symposium on the History of Agriculture and Forestry in the 100th Anniversary of the Republic of Türkiye’ was held in Ankara on 18-20 December.

İbrahim Yumaklı

The organisation was co-organised by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and the Turkish Historical Society. More than a thousand people representing all segments of the sector attended the magnificent event opened by Minister İbrahim Yumaklı. A great harmony and cooperation between the institutions organising the symposium, three of which I attended as a speaker or moderator, was immediately noticeable.

In particular, everyone from Dr. Bülent Kahraman Çolakoğlu, the Head of the Education and Publication Department of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry of the Republic of Türkiye, to all employees was involved in the work. Apart from the national channels, Agriculture TV was on live broadcast from the opening. When the subject was the history of agriculture and forestry, we were encouraged to look back at the past and see where we are today.

The mood of pessimism was replaced by hope. The Press Session, in which I was an active participant as a writer for Dünya Newspaper, was very colourful. We benefited a lot from discussing media, disinformation, post-truth and agricultural extension with the names we know from the screens.

Dr. Bülent Kahraman Çolakoğlu

We talked about the history of radio and television programmes, which are still a very effective way of reaching the agricultural sector and what kind of a path can be followed in the future. The Special Session on Exemplary Youth in Agriculture, in which I again took part as a moderator, was another marvellous event in which we enjoyed ourselves the most, our hopes for the future increased, and we were very happy to see the technofest youth alive and well. Naturally, time was not enough…

It was necessary to devote at least half a day only to social media agricultural phenomena. It was great to listen to the experiences of our young entrepreneurs who have implemented new technologies, obtained patents, and even reached the export stage. Youth, technology and social media give you hope that agriculture can be made attractive again. This path should be used more and examples of success should be well communicated to the society. For years we have been trying to explain to young people the importance and ways to come up with innovative ideas.

We were excited to see many examples of this within this Symposium. The sharing of the authorities of the General Directorates of our Ministry and important agricultural stakeholders enabled us to be informed from the source. Detailed information was provided by almost all relevant units, especially by the General Directorates of State Hydrolic Works (DSI), Türkiye Agricultural Credit Cooperatives, Agricultural Research and Policies (TAGEM), Agricultural Enterprises (TİGEM), Turkish Grain Board (TMO), Meat and Milk Institute, Agricultural Reform and Forestry…

Institutions and organisations providing input to agriculture and civil society were also represented at the highest level. We were able to get first-hand answers to our questions and experts addressed false public perceptions (fake news and information). In fact, we saw that we were in a much better situation than we thought and we took heart. Some of the halls were so crowded that we could not step inside. It was an indication of the success of the meeting to see that the interest was still alive even in the closing session.

Meeting on the same platform as different disciplines such as agriculture, forestry and history created a new synergy. It is necessary to do this more frequently. The suggestion that Agriculture and Forestry should be organised as two separate ministries, which I have expressed in my previous articles, was also voiced by the Chair of the Chamber of Forest Engineers. The silent revolution in the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry needs to be explained to the public very well through such events. I express my gratitude to everyone who contributed to this great organisation.

By Professor Dr. Aykut Gül, Lecturer at the Çukurova University, Faculty of Agriculture

About İsmail Uğural

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