Press release…

“Life is difficult but it is important to acknowledge that life itself is a risk and where there is no risk there is no learning and growth”. Female agricultural intermediary Münevver Ezelsoy meets with EU Ambassador Meyer-Landrut.

12 July 2021, Hatay – A one-day Farmer Field School (FFS) workshop was held at the Hatay Provincial Directorate of Agriculture and Forestry under the European Union (EU) funded project “Building Resilience of Syrians under Temporary Protection and Host Communities in Turkey through Supporting Socio-Economic Integration and Creating Livelihood Opportunities”.

Ergün Çolakoğlu, Münevver Ezelsoy, Nikolaus Meyer-Landrut and Sheikh Ahaduzzaman

The workshop was opened by Ergün Çolakoğlu of the Provincial Directorate of Agriculture and Forestry and FAO Turkey Programme Officer Sheikh Ahaduzzaman. In his opening remarks, Çolakoğlu summarized the agricultural assets of Hatay province, emphasizing the links built between Syrians and the Hatay host community in the field of agriculture, while expressing his satisfaction with the selection of Hatay as a province for the FFS initiative. During the workshop, Sheikh Ahaduzzaman emphasized the use of participatory learning in Farmer Field Schools, stating that: “We aim to further promote the FFS approach to make it more participatory and accessible to all. We also believe that this approach can be spread to other provinces in Turkey as part of a national campaign on agricultural extension building that will help achieve sustainable agricultural development.”

Professor Dr. Cemal Taluğ

The FFS sessions were led by agricultural experts Prof. Cemal Taluğ, Prof. Özdal Köksal and Prof. Kürşat Demiryürek, who worked to ensure a high level of interaction among the participants. Prof. Taluğ, former Rector of Ankara University, noted during his session that the FFS method is the first of its kind in Turkey. He elaborated: “This practice aims to develop human resources in the field of agriculture field. It is immensely valuable because it enables farmers to obtain a clear grasp of technical agricultural methods. Lectures provided in the schools enable farmers to discuss these subjects, and inspires them to transfer what they learn to other farmers. This allows knowledge to be applied in harmony with agricultural life.”

As part of the workshop, the Head of the European Union Delegation to Turkey and Ambassador, Nikolaus Meyer-Landrut paid a visit to the Hatay Provincial Directorate to discuss the programme within the framework of broader agricultural issues, and to consider the status of Syrians under Temporary Protection (SuTPs) and host communities. During the visit the Ambassador expressed his admiration for the agricultural richness of Hatay province, and spoke with Münevver Ezelsoy, a female agricultural intermediary.

Ezelsoy thanked the Ambassador and all project partners for providing skills development opportunities for women in Hatay. She explained that: “The training boosts the self-confidence of rural women and enables them to express themselves more clearly. The recent pandemic taught us all lessons. Mine was to learn how to enhance my skills by participating in a women’s cooperative to the point where I could take care of myself and my whole family. When the cooperative started there were only ten of us, including male members to ensure a gender balance. Slowly we developed as a team: local people and fellow Syrians working together. We know that life is difficult but it is important to acknowledge that life itself is a risk, and where there is no risk there is no learning and growth. I take pleasure in participating in this process because learning in the face of adversity is what makes us stronger and, more significantly, enables us to touch the lives of others.”

About İsmail Uğural

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