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DR. MELTEM ONAY WRITES; A HOLISTIC APPROACH TO AGRICULTURE

The Coronavirus epidemic reminded us once again that the health of all living things is interconnected and integrated. Covid 19, which was initially seen as a global health problem, will now be discussed more with its economic, social and political dimensions. Because we will see the effects of the epidemic in all sectors, by living together.

Considering that it is possible to protect our health with healthy nutrition, the importance of “food safety” has increased even more in the Corona days. Because this virus affects agriculture and food at a global level, and naturally, “food shortage” and “food crisis” will be a matter of concern to all countries in the near future.

In a report by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), there is a concrete data that 135 million people in 55 countries are at a crisis level or worse in terms of food security, and that there will be more serious problems with Covid 19 epidemic effects. Also, in this report, recommendations to definitely reduce the effects of countries on food supply, global food trade and food safety are remarkable. As such, we will need to increase our ability to look differently at both the country’s agriculture and world-wide agricultural movements.

The “Integrated Management” approach, which is the long-standing work of Zimbaweli naturalist and wild life expert Allon Sovey as the most important problem in the world, especially the country and the rest of Africa, is perhaps for “sustainable agriculture” can be a guiding understanding.

Holistic Management Approach is a form of management that creates abundance and productivity in every field by evaluating the tools and resources serving them with optimum efficiency for the purposes that the entire administration wants to achieve. As a result of associating the improvement of nature through agriculture with “nature friendly agriculture” which assumes that it is used in agriculture at the same time; it will be possible to guarantee food safety. On the other hand, by supporting a healthy ecosystem, we will support the sustainability of soil, water and natural resources. However, with such an integrated approach, we can prevent desertification and erosion that threaten natural resources.

The holistic approach offers us to establish a correct system. He recommends that all the factors that make up the system be constructed taking into account the relationship with each other. If there will be a “reconstruction” of agriculture in our country, it should be redesigned considering all the problems. Successful performance can be achieved by creating a strategic plan of agriculture in our country and collaborating with partners and stakeholders in accordance with this plan.

Agriculture; It is an industry dependent on climate, soil and ecology. Everything has a time to do. Missing the 1-month planting time means the 1-year crop disappears. With the existing conventional agricultural system, it seems to be difficult to set up this system right now. Because in our country (Turkey), the agricultural sector is foreign dependent on important agricultural inputs such as fertilizer, seed, pesticide. Another important issue is the rapidly approaching “climate crisis” risk. Due to the changing climate, we are now facing many problems, from product quality to harvested production. And worse, this situation is not only the problem of our country, but also among the basic problems of all countries. If we cannot put the formulas of dealing with this crisis in our strategic plans while setting our goals, all the work to be done will be wasted.

In the Doktar Firm’s report entitled “Farmer’s pulse”, 48% of the farmers who made production stated that there was no one to continue their business after them. Small agricultural enterprises in the Aegean and Thrace regions will disappear in the near future, especially on a regional basis. It is doubtful to think that there will be no agriculture in these regions, where we have the most fertile agricultural lands, and to think about how to do “productive” agriculture in the coming years with a holistic perspective. FAO has a report that the global population will reach 9 billion for the year 2050, and young people between the ages of 15-24 will reach 1.3 billion. It is a known fact that young people are reluctant to work in agricultural areas among the problems of rural areas all over the world.

Local administrations play a major role in attracting knowledgeable, high-tech, conscious and interdisciplinary youth to the agricultural sector. In order to encourage “agricultural entrepreneurship”, serious investors are needed and agricultural incentives should be increased. This can be realized with the emphasis of the state on “agricultural policies”.

Agriculture has emerged from a sector to be achieved with the agricultural logic we know now. Smart agriculture- Digital Agriculture; It is a technique that provides soil and crop management, more economical use of resources and minimizes environmental damage to increase agricultural productivity. It makes it necessary to manage the time and the process effectively from the cultivation of the soil to the harvest and to the consumer. The costs created by digitalization can only be avoided by creating associations, ie cooperatives. However, all these new models should be shaped with the “circular economy” logic. If we want to create a self-sufficient country, we have to establish our self-sufficient farms.

Agriculture and food are the sectors of the future. We have to protect our “small family farms” and our naturally “farmers” in our country, as in the world, by increasing our sensitivity to the environment, using new technologies for this area, preserving our production memory. We have to create a “new generation farmer profile” by making the farming profession honorable.

The holistic point of view tells that agriculture should be designed precisely from the underground to the table of the consumer. This shows that agriculture is an important sector that cannot be underestimated, and it envisages the design of this chain with multi-disciplinary employees.

Professor Dr. Meltem Onay

Vice Rector

15 November Cyprus University

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About İsmail Uğural

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