Agricultural production has started in approximately 3 years on an empty, fallow or idle area of approximately 4.5 million decares with the Project of Enabling the Use of Agricultural Lands (TAKE) carried out by the General Directorate of Plant Production under the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.
With the project carried out by the Ministry since 2021, it is aimed to increase plant production by using different production techniques in empty, fallow, and idle areas in 81 provinces and in areas not suitable for cultivated agriculture. Special attention is paid to the production of strategic products here.
It is planned to develop the production of cereals, legumes and oilseed plants with suitable varieties, taking into account the climate change in these regions. In order to increase the production of high value-added plant species on lands that are not suitable for cultivation, the project provides seedlings and seeds with a maximum of 75 percent grant to producers in 81 provinces.
In addition, in order to reduce post-harvest losses and increase added value, it is aimed to increase the yield obtained from the unit area through technical applications such as establishing drying or processing facilities after primary production, grafting plant species existing in their natural ecology, and changing varieties.
With the project, the expected goal was achieved by planting, planting and grafting on approximately 3.4 million decares with a budget of 505 million liras in 2021-2022. Within the scope of the project, in the spring of this year, these activities were carried out on an area of 1.1 million decares with a budget of 310 million liras. Project activities continue with autumn plantings.
“Our farmers are very happy”
Istanbul Provincial Director of Agriculture and Forestry, Ahmet Yavuz Karaca, told Anadolu Agency (AA) about the TAKE Project that the project started in 2021, that they distributed 325,000 tomato, cucumber, melon, eggplant and pepper seedlings in the first year, and that they prepared a paddy project with drip irrigation that year. He explained that they established a drying facility.
Karaca stated that after their success in the first year, they gave about 3 million seedlings to producers for free last year. ” said.
Karaca noted that fruits and vegetables come from 77 provinces in Istanbul, which has a population of 16 million, as well as domestic and foreign visitors, and continued his words as follows:
“In order to reduce this and bring the urban agriculture phenomenon to life, we increased our projects, especially related to vegetables. We developed a project by producing seedlings from our own ancestral seeds, which we received from women in our two villages. We distributed dried pepper seedlings here. Maybe it has never been heard of in Istanbul, we did it. Again in our Şile region. We established Turkey’s first medicinal aromatic plants agricultural development cooperative. We also had projects related to medicinal aromatic plants there. We established a blackberry orchard in Sancaktepe. We also established a jujube garden in two regions. Our farmers are already very happy about it.”
“We provided 25 million liras of support to the farmers of Istanbul with the TAKE Project”
Ahmet Yavuz Karaca stated that they have implemented 39 projects in 2022 within the scope of the TAKE Project and said that they have distributed around 2.5 million lettuce and curly seedlings related to winter vegetables and that they will continue to distribute them this year as well.
Karaca said, “Our aim here is to evaluate especially the idle and uncultivated lands, to increase production by providing seed and seedling support, which is the biggest input cost of our farmers. This means a support of 25 million liras.” he said.
Expressing that they are continuing the same 39 projects this year, Karaca said, “We will distribute wheat, barley, oat and canola seeds this year. We have distributed our domestic and national sunflower seeds in Silivri, Çatalca, Arnavutköy and Büyükçekmece regions. We see that we have achieved very good results.” made the statement.
“We will increase the number of seedlings, which is 4 million this year, in 2024”
Istanbul Provincial Director of Agriculture and Forestry Karaca explained that they have implemented different works within the scope of the project, and that they have distributed peppers for two villages in Silivri and tomato seedlings for paste throughout the district, and tomato seedlings that make people smile in Şile.
Expressing that they distributed more than 4 million seedlings this year in total, Karaca gave the following information:
“All of the seedlings we have distributed are seeds developed by TAGEM from local and national seeds. We have distributed the seedlings produced from seeds. Our yields are very good. Our citizens are very satisfied. We started with 325 thousand units in the first year. This year it was 4 million. We expect it to be much more next year. “There is a high demand. Because the yield is very high. (Our farmers) are satisfied with both the yield and the seedlings. For example, our melon seedling. Our melon is very delicious. Our citizens are very satisfied with almost all the seedlings we distribute.”
Karaca noted that they are carrying out a planned work and that they have received requests from the farmers before or when they will start distribution, “We will meet as many requests as possible. We met them last year as well. For example, we started collecting requests for our winter curly and other vegetable varieties. Now we are collecting requests. We will evaluate all the requests and distribute them again.” made the statement.
“The sown area and the yield have increased”
Ahmet Yavuz Karaca reminded that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said that “not an inch of land will be left unplanted” during the Kovid-19 process, and said that the project started in this context.
Expressing that the production has increased significantly in Istanbul thanks to the project, Karaca said, “In many regions, farmers who will never sow have planted them thanks to the support we have provided. There is an increase in yield. There is also an increase in the product taken from a unit area. This year, for example, we broke a record in wheat. “When we look at the data from the seeds we distribute, we have a yield of 700 to 900 kilograms per decare. This is almost one of the highest yields in Turkey,” he said.
Pointing to the importance of food supply and agricultural production, Karaca said, “This is as important as national defense. There is no difference between our farmers who produce UAVs and SİHAs. Because it is a very strategic area.”
Noting that 17 percent of Istanbul is agricultural land, Karaca said, “We want to produce in this 17 percent area in such a way that there is no empty space. We even have a facility that makes production at the second deepest point in the world, which we call vertical agriculture. We say to our farmers from here; you produce enough. This is our motto. If they produce “We will always continue to support them. We will not refuse any of their demands. We have not turned them down until now. We will not turn them down from now on.”
“In 5 years, our citizens of Istanbul will not eat tired tomatoes”
Karaca, Istanbul Provincial Director of Agriculture and Forestry, stated that he had dreams for the future after these projects and supports, and concluded his words as follows:
“Vegetables and fruits come to Istanbul from everywhere. Calculate the carbon footprint. There are many things. We say, ‘I hope we will not make our citizens of Istanbul eat tired tomatoes in 5 years’. Istanbul is a place with a population of more than 20 million, including its guests. It is a very important market. “The biggest market is here. It is enough for our farmers to produce. We will continue to support them.”