The results of the 1000 Farmers Endless Prosperity research have been announced
Women are the unsung heroes of agriculture
International Rural Women's Day, declared by the United Nations based on the important position of women in agricultural production, sustainable use of resources, food production and safety, has been celebrated on October 15 every year since 2008.
According to research conducted within the scope of Cargill's 1000 Farmers Endless Prosperity program, although farming is a family business, gender relations continue to define women with domestic roles. While the man runs the agriculture, the woman organizes the rest of the life and provides the logistical support, but the burden on their shoulders is not well understood. It is thought that female farmers who somehow take over the business will be able to do this job better than men because they will be “more meticulous, more patient and reasonable”.
The power, determination and talent of women at home, in the field, at every stage of life and production are crowned with success stories. Women farmers participating in the 1000 Farmers Endless Prosperity program said, “When a person knows what they want to do and is determined, nothing can stop them. “As women, we need to be more confident in ourselves.”.
Women make up 43% of the agricultural workforce in the world. Women, who work in more than half of food production, have a great role in ensuring the continuity of agricultural production and rural life in Turkey. The total number of people employed in agriculture, which is the only sector where women and men are employed in almost equal numbers, is 4 million 948 thousand people. 41% of this, 2 million 47 thousand of them are women. While the rate of women working as unpaid family workers is 79.36%, the rate of women working as paid or casual workers is 11.10%. Women working 16-17 hours a day in farmer families do all the management of the house, take care of the children and the elderly, and prepare the meals for the workers as well as the household members. In addition, they work like a small workshop in the production of summer products, winter products, drying and canned products.
International Rural Women's Day, which is celebrated on 15 October every year, is also important as it is declared one day before World Food Day on 16 October to draw attention to the vital role of women in the rural economy. Cargill, which continues to stand by farmers to increase the productivity and welfare of farmers, support social and digital transformation in agriculture, and contribute to the protection of natural resources with sustainable agricultural practices, shared a special research to this day with the 1000 Farmers Endless Prosperity program.
Within the scope of the program, the “Farmer's Mind Map” research carried out with KONDA last year has been expanded to the topics of agriculture and women this year. Within the scope of the research, in which the role of women in the agricultural process is discussed, a total of 44 people, 34 men and 10 women, who participated in the 1000 Farmers Endless Prosperity program, were interviewed by phone and online. The results reveal that agriculture in Turkey is also the area where gender discrimination is felt the most, the role of women in agriculture is not emphasized enough, and they are seen as a reinforcement in the process rather than the subject in agricultural production due to the patriarchal socio-cultural structure. According to this;
• Women who were more active in the fields until 10-15 years ago lost their effectiveness in the fields due to the decrease in the need for manpower and the enlargement of the cultivation areas. The number of people who said, “Technology has come, there is nothing left for women to do in the fields” has increased. In the process of transforming agriculture from a domestic activity to a commercial business that earns money, the effectiveness of women in the field decreased.
• Even though farming is considered a family business, gender relations continue to define women with domestic roles. Although women and men are seen as equal, agriculture is defined as men's work. Women are seen as reinforcements. Men who care about women's intuition need to get their wife's opinion in the background.
The continuation of farming is designed over men
• The continuation of farming is designed around men, not women, in the family. Since it is thought that women will marry and start a new family with another man. It is thought that even if she acquires a related profession, she will not have a direct contribution to the family.
• The number of believers in women is higher in coastal regions and Çukurova. It is thought that women who are in charge of the work in some way will be able to do this job better than men because they will be "more meticulous and more patient".
• Women are generally self-confident and enthusiastic about taking an active role in agriculture. They believe that their fellows would be even more successful than men if they were active in this field.
• With the technological developments, women's practice of working in the fields almost disappears, and the production of animal products becomes the work of women. In households dealing with animal husbandry, the burden on women increases even more. In these houses, where animal products such as yogurt and cheese are made and sold by women, women play a more active role in the care and milking of animals.
• The gardens, orchards and the products grown there for the households' own production are generally under the care of women.
“We cannot feed anyone if the farmer does not produce”
Ceylan Karaoğlan, one of the leading farmers of the 1000 Farmers Endless Prosperity program, produces in Peşrefli village of Tire District of İzmir. Karaoğlan, who got married at the age of 16 and has three children, grows corn with her son, and also produces dairy with cattle. Karaoğlan said, “The work of farming never ends. I start early in the morning, I spend all day in the field. I fertilize the soil, I control my crops. I never stop.”.
Even though she wants her children she rose with her earnings from the field to stop farming and live in the city, Karaoğlan is determined not to give up on her land: “The land has fed us for thousands of years. We must take better care of our land and protect our resources, both for us and for future generations. I love my job very much. If the farmer does not produce, we cannot feed anyone. I joined 1000 Farmers Endless Prosperity program in 2019, and since then I have been a leading farmer. We used to do things as we saw from our elders before. I learned a lot with this program. The trainings I attended were very helpful. I have seen the benefits of digital soil analysis. I started to get the best yield from the soil. Compared to previous periods, I irrigate my field better, fertilize and spray more accurately.”
Karaoğlan says, “There are many difficulties in being a woman in farming,” but she encourages her fellow women with these words: “When a person knows what they want to do and is determined, nothing can stop them. There are many women who hold back from this job because they believe they cannot do it. As women, we should have more confidence in ourselves.”
“Being in the field gives me more freedom”
İlayda Altıntaş is one of the youngest female farmers of the 1000 Farmers Endless Prosperity program. Born in Dikmen village of Eskişehir Çifteler District as the daughter of a farmer family, Altıntaş prefers to spend time with the soil she has been dealing with since childhood, to city life.
Altıntaş, who is a second year student at Osmangazi University Industrial Engineering Department and a first year student at Anadolu University Agricultural Technology Department, said, “I am also in the city because I have a school, but if I am in the village, I am always in the field. If tractors are to be maintained at home, I do them.” She does not complain at all about spending less time with his friends for the sake of the land.
Altıntaş said, “The land means freedom for me… It makes me feel more free to walk in the field among the sunflowers instead of walking between the buildings in the city. As soon as my school is over, I will run to the land”. She explained the benefit of the 1000 Farmers Endless Prosperity program as, “I have been in the program for a year. With this program, we have brought technology to our fields. For example, I used the sprout application in the corn we planted for the first time this year. I thought I gave too much water to the corn, but when I looked from the application, I saw that there was still not enough water. For our future, agriculture and animal husbandry must continue. If the farmer does not produce, it will not continue. We have to produce.”.
Altıntaş, who aims to contribute to the increase in the number of women farmers with the content she shares on social media, said, “Women are seen as incapable of it, but in fact, it is the opposite. We can do anything we want. I even have a motto, “I will do my nail polish, my work in the field too”. I hope to see more women with this motto.”
“Anywhere with a women’s touch becomes more beautiful”
Ceren Yaglikara, who lives in Uzunbeyli village of Ankara's Polatlı District, is actually an industrial engineer. Having supported her husband, who has been producing canola and sunflower since 2016 and continues her family profession as farming, Yaglikara is a senior student at Ankara University Agricultural Engineering Department.
Saying that she thought agriculture was an easy job until she studied agricultural engineering, Yağıkara said, “After getting involved, I realized how much labor the land requires and that the job is much more serious. When there was a pandemic, we all tried to protect our health first, and we couldn't give up on food. The future of food also depends on agriculture. This year I did an internship on the farm of the university. That's when I really touched the land for the first time and my perspective changed. When you touch the land, you find peace. We have a 3.5-year-old daughter, we are already trying to implement a love of fields in her. My wife and I both want our business to continue. Our only dream is to continue production in the field.”.
Saying, “We have become more conscious, thanks to 1000 Farmers Endless Prosperity program”, Yağıkara underlines the need to integrate technology more into agriculture: “What we learned from our ancestors is of course important, but technology finds its place in agriculture more and more every day. 1000 Farmers Endless Prosperity taught us how to use the right product. With the satellite tracking system, we can see the situation without going to the field. We can do digital soil analysis. In fact, we do the time-consuming things in a shorter time, which increases the efficiency we get.”
Saying that there are not many women farmers around, Yaglikara says that if agriculture is left only to women, more systematic and more efficient production can be made. Yağıkara said, “Actually, anywhere with a women’s touch becomes more beautiful. Competition in between men does not advance agriculture. The production competition that may occur among women will carry us to better places”.
Örsel: “This is Anatolia, the real owner of the land here is women”
Cargill Foods Turkey, Middle East and Africa Executive Board Member Responsible for Corporate Relations Arzu Örsel says that women also play an important role in ensuring sustainability in agriculture. Stating that women continue to produce in every field when given the opportunity, Örsel emphasizes that as Cargill, they always stand by women farmers with the 1000 Farmers Endless Prosperity program. Örsel added, “Even though gender relations in the farmer families continue to define women with domestic roles, women are the invisible power of agriculture. Women farmers are just as important as agriculture is for our future. Women are the real owners of the land. It is also the women who provide the logistics behind the production and the transformation of the produce into value-added and sustainable products such as canned food, tomato paste and yoghurt. Maybe they come to front less for socio-cultural reasons, but after entering these jobs, they are more successful than men. Empowering women in agriculture will also make a great contribution to our country's economy. We celebrate the International International Rural Women's Day of all women farmers.”.
For more information:
MPR Communications Consultancy:
Bilal Turhal, [email protected], 0536 350 51 90
Tarık Yılmaz, [email protected], 0555 583 14 68
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About Cargill in Turkey
Cargill, which started its activities in Turkey in the 1960s, operates in the food, bioindustrial and animal nutrition sectors. In addition to its headquarters in İstanbul, Turkey which opened in 1992, it provides services with a total of 670 employees in its offices in Adana and Ankara, and production facilities in Bursa, Balıkesir, Kocaeli and Sakarya. With the addition of the Middle East and North Africa in 2014 and Sub-Saharan Africa in 2018, Turkey became the administrative center of the region, which includes the Middle East, Turkey and Africa (META). Cargill Turkey, which continues to work with a focus on sustainability in order to provide the world's nutritional needs in a safe, responsible and sustainable manner, develops innovative products in line with consumer trends and expectations in its four state of the art production facilities.
For more information, you can visit www.cargill.com.tr and https://www.facebook.com/CargillTurkey/
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