An inauguration ceremony was held to launch a Farmer Field Schools (FFSs) initiative to support Syrians under Temporary Protection (SuTPs), refugees and Turkish citizens improve their knowledge and skills on modern agricultural technologies and practices. Through FFSs, FAO will provide training for selected SuTPs, refugees and host community members with support from the Provincial Directorate of Agriculture and Forestry. The project, funded by the European Union (EU), aims to build the resilience of Syrians and host communities and improve their livelihoods and employment opportunities in the agri-food sector. The project is implemented in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, and the Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Services.
The official inauguration of the FFSs was attended by His Excellency Nikolaus Meyer-Landrut, Head of the EU Delegation to Turkey, Ambassador; Mr Viorel Gutu, FAO Subregional Coordinator for Central Asia and FAO Representative in Turkey; Ms Aylin Çağlayan Özcan, Director General of EU and Foreign Relations of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forstry; and Mr Sürur Kır, Acting Head of the Training and Publication Department, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.
In his opening remarks, Viorel Gutu noted that the project represents an important milestone in building the resilience of SuTPs and vulnerable host communities, with a view to creating employment opportunities in the agri-food sector in Turkey. He thanked the EU for its generous support of SuTPs and local communities, highlighting the long-term goal of improving livelihoods.
Recalling EU support for Turkey throughout the Syrian crisis, Nikolaus Meyer-Landrut noted that, “The EU is working closely with all parties and with FAO to shape a better future for refugees and host communities, and to ensure an enabling environment for them to become skilled workforce. The EU is proud to contribute to the impressive efforts of the Turkish government in the area of employment, notably the agricultural employment of refugees, which is a priority area for the Facility together with other critical work on education, health and protection,” said the Head of the EU Delegation to Turkey.
Aylin Çağlayan Özcan, Director-General of EU and Foreign Relations of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, stressed the importance of efficient and sustainable use of resources and emphasized the importance of rural development for sustainability in the agriculture and food sector.
All COVID-19 precautionary measures, including physical distancing and the use of proper protective equipment, will be maintained throughout the training course. FAO will provide necessary safety and hygiene materials and protective equipment such as masks, hand sanitizers, face shields and informational materials.