The population of farmers is decreasing day by day in Turkey and in the world

SAFAKNA, Türkiye. While global conditions are a reminder of the vital importance of agricultural production every day, they highlight the crucial role of farmers. Climate change, world population growth, expansion of urban centers are increasing pressure on agricultural areas. Decreased water resources, the inability to use natural resources sustainably, and an increase in the frequency of extreme weather events and natural disasters adversely affect agricultural land.

Agricultural areas also suffer from activities such as industry and mining. Farms can also be seen as undesirable elements as settlements move closer to rural areas. In addition, rising transport costs are also a problem for the farmer. However, when it comes to ensuring food safety and the desire to consume higher quality products at a more affordable price, those who ignore all these negative points can safely blame farmers in many ways.

The International Federation of Agricultural Producers (IFAP) was founded on May 14, 1946. Since 1984, May 14 has been celebrated as World Farmer’s Day. An organization that reflects the problems of agricultural producers in the international arena, thereby attracts attention to farmers even for one day a year and makes it possible to put their problems on the agenda.

In Turkey, which is billed as the first in Europe and the seventh in the world in terms of agricultural production, high food prices remain on the agenda. High prices not only negatively affect the consumer, but also do not please the manufacturer due to many factors, primarily due to high production costs.

The strategic importance of agriculture is growing

While the protectionist policies pursued by countries drive up prices in other countries, this is yet another reminder of the vital importance of local agricultural production. On the other hand, population growth also increases the need for agricultural products. Problems around the world are also relevant for Turkey, and every day it becomes more difficult to be a farmer in our country.

The decrease in the rural population and the decrease in the number of registered farmers is increasing day by day. In particular, the increase in the cost reduces the profitability of agricultural production. According to the TEC, if the share of agriculture in the sectoral distribution of employment was 17.2 percent, then in 2022 this figure dropped to 15.8 percent.

In 2022, 4 million 866 thousand people were employed in the agro-industrial complex. Despite all this negative picture, Turkey is among the largest agricultural producers in the world, and despite the trend towards urban migration, approximately 64 percent of the rural population is under 50 years old.

Turkey, which has a high agricultural potential, produces a wide range of products that cannot be grown in most countries of the world. If the necessary steps are taken, the share of agriculture in GNP can be increased and its export potential can be exploited. In this way, the sector can become more attractive to young people and help increase employment.

Decrease reflected in numbers

The population of Turkey reached 85 million 279 thousand 553 people in 2022 according to the results of the targeted population registration system. On the other hand, Turkey, whose number of registered refugees is approaching 4 million, plans to receive 60 million tourists in 2023. This human presence alone is enough to understand why Turkey needs agricultural value.

It is extremely important to stabilize the income of the farmer through the sustainable, more efficient and rational use of natural resources. Improving the competitiveness of the farmer by increasing production and product quality will expand export opportunities in agriculture.

However, when added to this are changing climatic conditions, overwhelming pressures from the development of world trade, increasing production costs and shrinking water resources, it affects farmers earlier than many professional groups, with important issues on the agenda.

The prices of diesel fuel, fertilizers, seeds, tractors and agricultural machinery, as well as spare parts and consumables for these machinery, place a heavy burden on the farmer. The high exchange rate makes these difficulties even more unbearable.

Working conditions need to be revised

Due to agricultural activities, farming is a production area closely related to nature, and at this stage it can be easily said that farmers belong to the most vulnerable occupational groups. Atmospheric events such as forest fire, flood, drought, tornado directly affect the farmer.

Farmers may suffer heavy losses before they can harvest their crops during the planting season. On the other hand, farmers’ exposure to harmful sunlight and their exposure to occupational diseases and accidents caused by agricultural machinery, especially the tractors they use, is a problem in itself.

The fact that most farmers are not covered by the social security system also prevents them from reporting the occupational diseases and accidents they face and finding solutions. High costs can push working farmers out of the social security system due to undocumented employment or high insurance premiums. Finally, it is useful to remember the following proverb: Whoever does not have a trace in the field has no face on the threshing floor.

All things considered, farmers who meet the need for healthy, sustainable and food security contribute to planting seasons for generations. Perhaps the farmers’ neglect has made consumers forget how much effort was put into the products that reached them. World Farmer’s Day can make sense by expressing the challenges faced by the producer, as well as reducing the distance between producer and consumer.


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