One of the biggest benefits of the pandemic has been that agriculture and food production have come to the fore. According to the United Nations, 795 million people go to bed hungry every night. An additional 2 billion people are expected to be added to this number by 2050. There is now a growing view that the food and agricultural system needs to be radically changed so that food can be provided to these people. . The search for a solution turns in circles and is tied up in the countryside. As the population of cities grows rapidly, the population of rural areas that will feed it declines at the same rate, and this picture could trigger a major food access crisis in agricultural production in the next 10 years.
Leading the team that prepared the report of the Rural Development Specialization Commission under the 11th development plan and the preparation of development plans for many provinces and districts, the faculty of agriculture of the Ankara University, Department of Agricultural Economics, Professor. Dr. Bülent Gülbuçuk says that the sustainability of agricultural production depends on the development of the countryside.
THE RURAL IS AGED
Emphasizing that the epidemic had not yet occurred in the period (2018) when they prepared the report under the 11th Development Plan, Prof. Dr. Gülbuçuk points out that this has increased the focus on agricultural production, but the general situation has not changed much. “Unfortunately, there is no sustainable society in the countryside… In other words, it is difficult to say anything optimistic about the existence of a young and dynamic population that wants to continue agricultural production and assimilated into rural life,” Gülbuçuk says, adding, “Currently, the average age of farmers is 56.”
Stressing the need to focus on policies that will keep the rural population in place, Gülçubuk says that the elements that will increase the resilience of rural life should be taken there, and we should focus on issues such as “that do the rural youth wait, what we can do, we can keep them there”. “The cost of living in the countryside is very high and poverty has started to settle in the countryside. According to the calculations , the national income per agricultural population has fallen below $3,000. How can you keep such a low-income group in the countryside?” says.
teacher. Dr. Gülbuçuk says that the answer to this question lies in the access of young people, in particular, to basic services and indicators of well-being that will sustain their lives. “It is no longer enough for the inhabitants of a village to simply feed themselves. They should also have access to health and social services. Only then can we reduce the pressure on cities.
WHAT SHOULD BE ON OUR ROADMAP?
It is clear that growth-oriented policies alone do not bring prosperity to rural agriculture. teacher. Dr. Gülbuçuk also points out that economic support alone is not enough. “We always provide production-oriented support (fertilizer, diesel, etc.) in rural areas. Fertilizer vs. But why don’t we give life support? For example, a farmer from a village in Ardahan can go to get help for animal husbandry. But the same person cannot get help to repair his house. In other words, animal production is up to EU standards and life is far behind. It will not happen. Since this does not happen, our animals can live in the countryside much more resilient than our people. We need agricultural and rural support that deals with the sharing of life and well-being.
DIRT Bougeoisie CAN STOP BALANCE
With the pandemic, part of the population living in big cities has started moving to smaller towns and rural areas. Consequently, land prices have increased in many rural areas. teacher. Dr. Gülbuçuk thinks it’s a problem of balance in the countryside. “This has led to a further decrease in the already declining population in the countryside. Urban and rural have changed places. It also upsets the balance. What does this population that settles in the countryside, which I call the “bourgeois rural bourgeoisie”, do to increase the resistance of the countryside? I wonder if it harms land in the countryside; Does it strengthen or help dissolve social relationships? Look, over the past 15 years, 2.6 million hectares of agricultural land have become unusable. Why? For factories, tourism and urbanization… Over the past 15 years, 3.5 million hectares of agricultural land have been abandoned. Because those who couldn’t earn a living went to the city to be cheap labor. And over the past 30 years, 11 million hectares of pasture have been destroyed.
TURKISH LANDS FEED 200 MILLION
Stressing that Turkey’s agricultural potential is large enough to feed 200 million people, Gülbuçuk says: “But”: “We need to build our human and social capital in the countryside. We need to work on what we can do to bring the level of rural well-being to the minimum level of cities. We have to do this with climate and water in mind.