The farmer population is decreasing day by day.


The conditions of the world, while reminding the vital importance of agricultural production day by day, emphasize the critical role of the farmers. Climate change, increasing world population, expanding city centers increase the pressure on agricultural areas. The decrease in water resources, the inability to use natural resources in a sustainable way and the increase in the frequency of extraordinary meteorological events, as well as natural disasters, adversely affect agricultural lands.

Agricultural areas are also adversely affected by activities such as industry and mining. Farms can also be seen as undesirable elements as settlements approach rural areas. In addition, increasing transportation costs are also a problem for the farmer. However, when it comes to ensuring food safety, when it comes to consuming better quality food at a more affordable price, those who ignore all these negativities can blame the farmers in various ways with peace of mind.

The International Federation of Agricultural Producers (IFAP) was founded on 14 May 1946. Since 1984, 14 May has been celebrated as World Farmers Day. The organization, which reflects the problems of agricultural producers in the international arena, thus draws attention to farmers, even for one day of the year, and provides the opportunity to bring their problems to the agenda.

In Turkey, which is stated to be the first in Europe and the seventh in the world in terms of agricultural output, the high food prices remain on the agenda. High prices not only affect the consumer negatively, but also do not make the producer happy due to many factors, especially high input costs.

The strategic importance of agriculture is increasing

While the protectionist policies implemented by the countries raise the prices in other countries, it reminds once again the vital importance of local agricultural production. On the other hand, the increasing population also increases the need for agricultural products. The problems around the world are also valid for Turkey and being a farmer in our country is getting harder day by day.

The decrease in the rural population and the decrease in the number of registered farmers are increasing day by day. In particular, the increase in input costs reduces the profitability of agricultural production. According to TUIK data, while agriculture had a 17.2 percent share in the sectoral distribution of employment, this rate decreased to 15.8 percent in 2022.

In 2022, 4 million 866 thousand people were employed in the agricultural sector. Despite all this negative picture, Turkey is among the largest agricultural producers in the world, and despite the tendency to migrate to cities, approximately 64 percent of the rural population is under the age of 50.

Turkey, which has a high agricultural potential, has a wide variety of products that cannot be grown in most parts of the world. If necessary steps are taken, it is possible to increase the share of agriculture in GNP and benefit from its export potential. Thus, the sector can become more attractive for young people and contribute to the increase in employment.

The decrease is reflected in the figures

Turkey’s population reached 85 million 279 thousand 553 people in 2022 according to the Results of the Address Based Population Registration System. On the other hand, Turkey, whose number of registered refugees is approaching 4 million, aims to host 60 million tourists in 2023. This human presence alone is enough to understand why Turkey needs agricultural importance.

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

However, when the changing climate conditions, the compelling pressure of the developments in world trade, increasing input costs and decreasing water resources are added, it affects the farmers before many occupational groups with important problems on the agenda.

Prices of diesel, fertilizers, seeds, tractors and agricultural machinery, and the parts and consumables of these equipment put a serious strain on the farmer. The high exchange rate makes these difficulties even more intolerable.

Working conditions should be reviewed

Due to agricultural activities, farming is a production area that is intertwined with nature. At this stage, it can be easily said that farmers are among the most fragile occupational groups. Atmospheric events such as forest fire, flood, drought, tornado directly affect the farmer.

Farmers can experience great losses before they can harvest their crops in the sowing period. On the other hand, the exposure of farmers to the harmful rays of the sun and their exposure to occupational diseases and work accidents caused by agricultural machinery, especially the tractors they use, is a problem in itself.

The fact that most farmers are out of the scope of social security also prevents the reporting of occupational diseases and work accidents they experience and producing solutions. The high cost can push the working farmers out of the social security due to unregistered or high insurance premiums. Finally, it is useful to remember the following proverb: Those who do not have a trace in the field have no face in the threshing floor.

Taking all considerations into account, farmers who meet the need to ensure healthy, sustainable and food security have done their part in planting seasons for generations. Perhaps the farmers’ disregard may have made consumers forget how much effort was put into the produce that reached them. World Farmer’s Day can gain meaning by expressing the problems experienced by the producer, as well as reducing the distance between the producer and the consumer.

Source: Dünya Gazetesi by

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