While fac­ing decades of civil war, Somalia has also suf­fered from droughts and wide­spread poverty. For the past seven years, Tur­key has been pro­vid­ing sup­port for the coun­try by of­fer­ing var­i­ous sus­tain­able and tan­gi­ble projects

Daily Sabah (Turkey) - - Front Page - YUNUS PAKSOY - MO­GADISHU, SOMALIA

TUR­KEY’S ef­forts to help sup­port sus­tain­able agri­cul­ture in Somalia for the past seven years by teach­ing mod­ern­ized farm­ing tech­niques to So­ma­lis cul­mi­nated in the es­tab­lish­ment of the Ana­to­lian Agri­cul­tural School in Mo­gadishu in 2014. Due to wide­spread sub­sis­tence farm­ing, Somalia is left vul­ner­a­ble to famine with the slight­est drought. The ini­tia­tive, launched by the Turk­ish Co­op­er­a­tion and Co­or­di­na­tion Agency (TİKA) and the Hu­man­i­tar­ian Re­lief Foun­da­tion (İHH) in late 2012, aims to train a new gen­er­a­tion of farm­ers equipped with the lat­est farm­ing tech­niques.

FOR the past seven years the Turk­ish state has been mo­bi­liz­ing all gov­ern­men­tal and non­govern­men­tal or­ga­ni­za­tions to lend a help­ing hand to Somalia, a coun­try that has been reel­ing under the weight of a decades-long civil war, drought and poverty. Ba­sic hu­man­i­tar­ian needs, camps for in­ter­nally dis­placed peo­ple, food and such ef­forts have been de­liv­ered.

While do­ing so, Tur­key has dis­tin­guished it­self by of­fer­ing Somalia sus­tain­able and tan­gi­ble projects on the ground, stay­ing true to the an­cient proverb: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a life­time.”

Start­ing off with then Prime Min­is­ter Re­cep Tayyip Er­doğan’s his­toric visit to Somalia in 2011 dur­ing a time when the coun­try was con­sid­ered one with the high­est risk of famine, Tur­key’s de­vel­op­ment projects have steadily con­tin­ued. In a short time, the Turk- ish gov­ern­ment has ini­ti­ated plans for struc­tures like hos­pi­tals, hous­ing projects, schools, wa­ter wells and mil­i­tary train­ing fa­cil­i­ties.

The agri­cul­ture school project in the cap­i­tal city of Mo­gadishu, for ex­am­ple, was also un­prece­dented. Un­able to feed its own peo­ple through agri­cul­ture and farm­ing, Somalia is left vul­ner­a­ble from even the slight­est drought. The agri­cul­ture school project, though, is work­ing to teach young stu­dents how to plant and har­vest on their own.

Jointly re­al­ized by the Turk­ish Co­op­er­a­tion and Co­or­di­na­tion Agency (TİKA) and the Hu­man­i­tar­ian Re­lief Foun­da­tion (IHH) in late 2012, the project was only one course at first. In 2014, how­ever, the pop­u­lar pro­gram was turned into the Ana­to­lian Agri­cul­tural School. To­day, So­mali stu­dents gather prac­ti­cal agri­cul­tural ex­pe­ri­ence on a vast 2,000-square-kilo­me­ter sec­tion of land.

Dur­ing the train­ing pe­riod, stu­dents are equipped with prac­ti­cal agri­cul­tural train­ing on is­sues such as seed­ing, ir­ri­ga­tion, hoe­ing, spray­ing, har­vest­ing and re­seed­ing. Around 500 stu­dents have grad­u­ated so far. Fur­ther­more, a master’s de­gree op­por­tu­nity in Tur­key is of­fered to So­mali stu­dents through the pro­gram.

The TİKA also makes sure that Turk­ish agri­cul­tural ex­perts mon­i­tor the train­ing pro­gram and plants reg­u­larly so the project con­tin­ues to be suc­cess­ful. The de­vel­op­ment agency has so far de­liv­ered trac­tors, prime movers, pul­ver­iz­ers, si­lage ma­chines, plows, seed­ers and an­chors to the Ana­to­lian Agri­cul­ture School.

An­other cru­cial as­pect of the school is to in­tro­duce dif­fer­ent veg­eta­bles and fruit to the peo­ple of Somalia. In to­tal, mel­ons, cu­cum­bers, egg­plant, beans, toma­toes, corn and green pep­pers are grown as part of the project. Stu­dents re­ceiv­ing train­ing at the school are en­cour­aged to re­turn to their home­towns and help ease the poverty cri­sis due to the drought.

Tur­key has also been at the fore­front in de­liv­er­ing hu­man­i­tar­ian aid and ba­sic food to quench the ur­gent needs of So­ma­lis since the un­prece­dented famine threat in 2011. The Turk­ish Red Cres­cent and the IHH have been very gen­er­ous in reach­ing out to the poor in the coun­try.

The Turk­ish Red Cres­cent is es­ti­mated to have spent nearly $40 mil­lion on So­ma­lis since 2011. It has also pro­vided more than 80,000 tons of hu­man­i­tar­ian aid in this re­spect. Somalia was one of the four re­gions sin­gled out by the U.N. in 2017 in a $4.4 bil­lion aid ap­peal to avert cat­a­strophic hunger and famine, along with Nige­ria, South Su­dan and Ye­men.

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