How Turkey’s Earthquake Affected the Agriculture and Meals Safety
Posted On March 7, 2023
With the end of the search and rescue efforts after the earthquake, debris removal work started and is continuing rapidly. Apart from separating the large amount of debris and introducing the usable materials back into the economy, it is important to dump the remaining waste in suitable places in such a way as not to harm people’s and animals’ health, nature, the environment, and agriculture, and not to prevent rainwater reaching groundwater. In this direction, the work is carried out meticulously under the supervision of the Ministry of Environment, Urbanization and Climate Change and under the coordination of the local governorships.
Immediately after the earthquake, all aid, including international aid, was at the highest level and even more than needed. It is anticipated that this aid, especially the aid by the public, non-governmental organizations, and the international community, will decrease over time and will not be continuous, and therefore the mechanisms have been established to store the surpluses and use them over time. However, in terms of the region’s and the country’s food security, it is important that agricultural activities in the region are carried out without interruption and that the functionality of the food value chain is ensured in a sustainable manner. Consequently, it is necessary for farmers to be present in the fields to take care of the winter plantings on time and to start the farming in the spring period so as to rebuild the deteriorated food value chain.
Some of the farmers engaged in agricultural activities lost their lives in the earthquake, and some migrated from the region due to the lack of suitable living conditions and the trauma caused by the earthquake. In addition to providing minimum living conditions, especially in the countryside, to prevent migration and help rapid returns, the working conditions must be improved urgently by eliminating the deficiencies in the tractors, tools, and production inputs required for agricultural production. Thus, while trying to meet the need for shelter and food within the framework of general aid, it was declared that the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and related institutions would provide additional agricultural support. It is essential that this aid and support continue until the conditions return to normal.
There is a saying in Turkish that goes, “One misfortune is better than a thousand pieces of advice.” It is necessary to form and implement more effective policies in order to improve the living and working conditions in rural areas of the earthquake zone and nationwide by learning lessons from the earthquake that occurred in the mid-south of Anatolia. Further rural development efforts, which will improve the situation of not only those engaged in agriculture, but all rural residents, are urgently needed for better food security and for reducing the population and settlement density in cities.
Thus, “rural transformation,” which can be the rural equivalent of urban transformation, will reduce the settlement pressure on agricultural lands around cities and contribute to the reduction of losses caused by earthquakes in both cities and rural areas. Countries with similar earthquake risk, rural settlement pattern, and building stock as Turkey would stand to benefit immensely from learning from the “Earthquake of the century.”