1.4 bln tons of soil disappear annually in Turkey

Soil erosion increases in Turkey every spring due to heavy rains and melting snow, leading to the loss of 1.4 billion tons of earth annually in Turkey, compared to the European loss of only 320 million tons per year.

1.4 bln tons of soil disappear annually in Turkey
Soil erosion increases in Turkey every spring due to heavy rains and melting snow, leading to the loss of 1.4 billion tons of earth annually in Turkey, compared to the European loss of only 320 million tons per year, according to Today's Zaman report.

According to information in the "Issues and Resolutions in Turkish Agriculture" report prepared jointly by the Prime Ministry and the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Ministry Turkey, one of the countries of the world most affected by global warming, faces another challenge with the coming of spring, losing substantial soil to erosion.
The report, also supported by the Forestry Ministry and other public institutions, reads:

"Ninety percent of agricultural land in Turkey is at the risk of erosion. In Turkey, 1.4 billion tons of land disappear every year because of erosion. Immediate measures are required to prevent the erosion of nearly 8 million acres of land. A total of 1.2 million acres of land are not used because they have lain fallow and 0.8 million acres because they are not cultivated. The soil has disappeared from nearly 16 million acres throughout Turkey. Erosion is still prevalent in 75 percent of total agricultural land. The amount of land that disappears because of erosion and other factors is seven times greater than the amount of such land in the United States, 17 times the amount in Europe and 22 times that in Africa. The Euphrates River carries 108 million tons and the Yeşilırmak River 55 million tons of earth away every year. Thirty-three million tons of earth accumulate in the Keban Dam every year and 32 million in the Karakaya. Every year 1.4 million tons of land (500 million tons from agricultural areas) disappear because of erosion."

The government will discuss possible measures to deal with the erosion issue in a meeting to be held with the participation of officials from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources and the directorates subordinate to these ministries. Special emphasis will be placed on determining and implementing measures to reduce the impact of springtime erosion.

The report also references problems the Turkish agricultural sector is dealing with, underlining that the nation also faces a great challenge with regard to the division of land because of inheritance. While the average size of a one-unit agricultural enterprise is 263,000 square meters in the 27 EU members, this figure is 54,000 in Turkey. Turkey's inheritance law promotes the division of land, and the productivity of large agricultural plots declines as they are divided into smaller, separately managed, areas as ownership gets split among survivors. The report further notes that annually, about 35 percent of the population makes a living from agricultural production and that 43 billion euros are reserved for agriculture on average in EU member countries whereas this figure is only 2.5 billion in Turkey. The agricultural population never declines below 35 percent in Turkey, whereas this figure is 5 percent in the EU. The share of agricultural production in gross national product (GNP) is 1.9 percent in Europe but 14 percent in Turkey. The report makes the following comparison in regard to comparative agricultural data between Turkey and European countries:

"[There are] 160,000 individuals employed in the agricultural sector in Belgium, which has a population of 10 million. They create total revenue of $10 billion. In Turkey 23 million are employed in agriculture, while the country's population is 75 million. However, the total revenue from agricultural production is only $2 billion in Turkey. Immediate measures are needed to deal with the problems that concern this area of 31 million hectares. Turkey is unable to compete with the EU because of structural problems, high costs of input and small amounts of funds reserved for subsidized products. The 5 million hectares of fallow land should be transformed into livestock production facilities. An area of 1.7 million hectares has been planned for irrigation as part of the Southeastern Anatolia Project but only 120,000 hectares have been irrigated. Because of faulty irrigation methods in southeastern Anatolia, an area of 20,000 hectares is facing grave danger from drainage."

Last Mod: 08 Nisan 2008, 12:13
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