News14 May 2020
TİKA Promotes Agricultural Diplomacy Activities in the Balkans against the Global Food Crisis
Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TİKA) is expanding the Food and Life Safety Support Program in the Balkans, which is in the grip of COVID-19.
In addition to the agricultural development programs implemented in the Balkans and Eastern European countries before the COVID-19 outbreak began, TİKA continues to provide assistance to regions where agriculture and animal husbandry-dependent Turkic groups and related communities live, as a precaution against a potential food crisis. TİKA has started to prepare country-based projects and programs to reduce the impact of a potential food crisis based on field and official data obtained through the Agricultural Diplomacy activities that it carries out to provide agricultural support and solutions to recent problems.
As part of the Food and Life Safety Support Program, certain activities have been initiated to promote agricultural development, prevent migration, and ensure the food and life safety of Turkic groups and related communities in the Balkans. Within this framework, TİKA has implemented projects such as “Increasing the Quality of Life of Retired Urban Population and People with Disabilities through Hydroponic Vertical Farming Practices in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” “Alleviating Poverty and Empowering Women in Rural Areas through Organic Walnut Production,” “Increasing Women’s Participation in Development by Promoting Greenhouse Production,” and “Production and Marketing of Safe Bee Products in Rural Areas.”
TİKA has started to take rapid measures in the Balkans to protect vulnerable groups and reduce the impact of the pandemic on the food system during this period when both food sources and livelihoods are at risk due to the outbreak, which largely affects the agricultural sector.
TİKA has started direct agricultural production for 500 families in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is among the most vulnerable countries to the COVID-19 pandemic and where nearly 100,000 people have become unemployed or unable to work for various reasons by the end of March 2020. It is known that total agricultural production decreased by 7.3% in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2019 compared to 2018.
10 Municipalities in Bosnia and Herzegovina Were Included in the Food Program
Being aware of the importance of self-sufficiency and the continuity of existing agricultural production, TİKA continues to support Bosnia and Herzegovina in its fight against the coronavirus through the “Seed Support Project.” Various agricultural projects have been implemented in Bosnia and Herzegovina in recent years as part of the “Balkans and Eastern European Countries Food and Life Safety Support Program.”
TİKA initiated the process of expanding agricultural support projects to different regions as part of the fight against COVID-19. The agency collaborated with 10 municipalities in Eastern Bosnia for the Seed Support Project, the first activity within this framework. The project aims to ensure the efficient use of agricultural lands and the continuity of agricultural production to prevent any potential food crisis and to support food safety by preventing any interruptions to the summer planting of products suitable for public consumption and by leading vulnerable groups to agricultural production.
Vulnerable Families Are Targeted
The crop pattern required to support subsistence agriculture and to meet the basic food requirements of especially families with members who are retired or over the age of 65 was determined by the academics of the Faculty of Agriculture at the University of Sarajevo based on the nutrition priorities of families. Agricultural consultants of municipalities play an active role in the project implemented in cooperation with the municipalities of Goražde, Pale-Prača, Rogatica (Zepa), Breza, Vareš, Maglaj, Gornji Vakuf, Sapna, Teočak, and Čelić.
Launched simultaneously with seasonal planting activities, the project aims to support the production of potatoes, onions, beans, carrots, and parsley on a land of 50 hectares by providing 13 tons of seeds and 13 tons of fertilizer to 500 families.
The Goal is to Support the Safety of Life
Since most of the lands in Bosnia and Herzegovina are privately owned, it is important to support family businesses through municipalities to ensure sustainable food safety.
Considering the negative impact of the outbreak on the global economy and the pressure it puts on the private sector, this project is an opportunity for young Bosnians who have lost their jobs during the outbreak and their families. Through farmers who grow crops for their own consumption, the number of cultivated agricultural lands will increase by this means, and this will act as the “multiplier” effect of the project on family and national economy in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
TİKA will continue to support this process by implementing new projects that promote production, especially on training and providing farming inputs. In this time of crisis when the strategic importance and position of agriculture are better understood, TİKA places great importance on ensuring the continuity of crop and animal production and guaranteeing the safety of food supply.
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