The Southeastern Anatolia Project (GAP) is one of the most ambitious of all regional development efforts worldwide and the largest and most comprehensive development effort aver launched by the Republic of Turkey.
The GAP was originally planned as a pack consisting of 13 large-scale irrigation and hydraulic energy production projects over the rivers Euphrates and Tigris that envisaged the construction of 22 dams and 19 hydraulic power plants. Today, the GAP has turned into a full-fledged socioeconomic development effort comprising, besides irrigation and power facilities on the Euphrates and Tigris, projects on rural and urban infrastructure, agricultural infrastructure, transportation, investments in industry and other sectors, education, health, housing, tourism and gender. As such, the project is a multi-faceted regional development effort which is expected to bring about changes affecting not only the region itself but the country as a whole.
The critical point here is to ensure the smooth running and follow up economic and social activities, which are expected to mushroom as a result of advanced technology based development and utilization of land and water resources in the region. The project will contribute significantly to both regional and national development objectives including boosting production and welfare; Providing for infrastructural needs of growing population; Improvement of social, economic and physical infrastructure in the region; Efficient utilization of available resources; Bringing urban growth under control; Encouraging exports and ensuring sustained economic growth and social stability.
It is true that efficient utilization of rich land-water resources and human potential in the region will contribute much to the economic development of the region; Yet, its expected contribution to the national economy can be ensured only through an integrated project approach. The GAP is a multi-sector regional development project, but the sector of agriculture will be the locomotive in using presently available rich resources. Agricultural output and raw materials as well as rural labor force and capital will be the basis of agro-industries, other industrial sectors and services to contribute to the further development of national and global economy.
Reaching the desired level in agriculture, which is indispensable in the development of the region, will be possible only if models and projects relevant to the conditions of the region are developed. To this end, the GAP Administration will continue its work in cooperation with all relevant governmental organizations and agencies, civil society organizations, farmers’ organizations (cooperatives, unions, associations, etc.) and international agencies.
Observing the unique character of the Southeastern Anatolia Project, the GAP Administration is engaged in efforts to plan activities in all sub-sectors of agriculture. Model projects are being developed by considering coordination and interaction among both these sub-sectors themselves and between these sub-sectors and other sectors.
Within the sector of agriculture, irrigation is the sub-sector that will function as the engine or, let’s say, trigger change in the region. In this sub-sector, there are two general directorates successfully performing their work in capitalizing on existing potentials and conducting engineering services: State Hydraulic Works (DSI) and Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs. In its own status, the DSI undertakes the responsibility of large-scale waterworks including the development, construction and, if pertinent, operation of projects related to water and land resources in the GAP region. Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs on the other hand, is in charge of carrying out smaller land and water (maximum flow of 500 liters/second) projects and on-farm development services.
The GAP Administration has been and is carrying out its activities in this sub-sector in cooperation and coordination with the General Directorates mentioned above.
Besides surface water resources in the region, the GAP Administration worked together with the DSI to assess groundwater potential in the plans of Ceylanpinar and Harran. This work known as "Ceylanpınar Groundwater Feasibility Study" was instrumental in assessing in detail the amount and quality of renewable water resources and modifying some irrigation projects accordingly.
The following work was on the regulation of water in irrigation canals and projects designed to determine best irrigation systems in the light of the climate of the region, soil characteristics, water availability and established practices of farmers. The project "Regulation of Water in Irrigation Canals and Use of Water-Saving Methods and Technologies in the GAP Region" was again developed and carried out in cooperation with the DSİ and Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs. The project was carried out in two components and its results were taken into account in irrigation practices on the Harran Plain.
The practice of irrigation and its efficiency is closely associated with the appropriate timing and coordination of other supporting services. Considering this fact and basing upon the earlier interventions of the DPT (State Planning Organization), the GAP administration launched the largest ever land consolidation project in Turkey. with this project coveringCeylanpinar Iki Circip and Sanliurfa Plains 42,000 hectares of land was consolidated (22,000 hectares in Ceylanpinar and 20,000 hectares in Sanliurfa). In this work again, the Administration cooperated with various other agencies and the project was completed through the successful coordination of related activities. Other partners in the project included the Agency for Agrarian Reform, DSI, Cadastral Office and Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs. The projects were completed in time with the committed performance of these agencies and organizations. After this work, the Agrarian Reform Agency completed consolidation work in the Harran Plain in two parts and materialized the largest single-step consolidation work in the world (80,000 hectares).
It has been proven in the practice of many countries as well as those in various parts of Turkey that immediate benefits from irrigation projects can be expected only with the introduction of a management-operation- maintenance model tailored to the circumstances of the region and with the transfer of irrigation facilities to their users, if human and natural factors are to be paid due attention. The cooperation between the GAP Administration and DSİ in this framework started with the terms of reference and continued throughout the process of project implementation. The project concerned was the "Project for the Management-Operation-Maintenance of GAP Irrigation Systems" or what is known shortly as GAP-MOM. This international project whose first phase has already been completed is now continuing with its second phase.
For the development of on-farm services the administration received a grant from the World Bank with its project and further elaborated Harran Plain-related "On-Farm and Village Development Project" as an implementation project with the contribution of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs and DSI.
The Administration’s work on water resources and irrigation then continued in line with the principles of integrated project management in the form of planning, timely completing and simultaneous measures of activities in other sub-sectors.
During all this work, the most important question which guided our activities was this: "What should be raised or grown to obtain the highest return from these huge investments and large-scale projects to develop water and land resources?" Two significant projects were launched to find a clear answer to this question. The first is research and development, and the second is crop design and marketing research.
Adaptation works have been started to identify crop types most suitable to the agro-ecological conditions of the region. The GAP Administration undertook earlier works conducted by the DPT in cooperation with Çukurova University and continued this cooperation with the university. Work on growing techniques and crop rotation followed adaptation work. Later, the scope of work was broadened as "Agricultural Research Project" with the participation of Harran and Dicle Universities and TÜBITAK.
Market conditions and needs constitute the basis of what to grow in an irrigated area extending over 2 million decares. In its work on crop design, the GAP Administration sought an optimization by considering demand from the region itself, Turkey, Middle East, Central Asia and Europe as potential marketing outlets and investigating the ways of responding to this prospective demand with an eye on the conditions of the region. The project "Plant Design and Marketing" was one of the projects carried out for this purpose.
This work was supported by the project "GAP Region Post-harvest Technologies in Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Culture" which analyzed various headings including the following: Demand projections for fruits and vegetables to be raised after irrigation; On-contract culture forms and practices; Identification of post-harvest technologies in term of marketing potential; Ways of storing, sifting and packing; Cold store; Transportation; Identification of places of facilities for storing in goods of various duration and social and environmental impacts of facilities to be constructed for these purposes.
The study on the "Credit Needs in the GAP Region" has been completed. This work was designed to assess the periodical credit needs of farmers during the period of transition from dry to irrigated farming. Agricultural mechanization is another sub-sector expected to undergo significant changes. Investments in this sector are quite costly and they have to ensure that machinery is available for use for long years. Considering these, the number and types of agricultural machinery and equipment that will be needed in transition to irrigated farming were assessed for large-scale irrigation projects within some models, also taking account of the possibilities of joint use as well as repair and maintenance stations.
Cultivable land in the Southeastern Anatolia Project area extends over 3.2 million hectares. 1.7 million hectares of this land can be irrigated through the initiatives of the DSİ, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs and communities whereas the remaining 1.2 million hectares of land cannot be irrigated technically and therefore will remain as dry farming area. In order to raise the living standards of people living in dry farming areas and to close, as far as possible, the income gap that may emerge between irrigated and dry farming areas, the GAP Administration is engaged, together with provincial governorates and provincial directorates of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, in variousincome generating activities and projects with due account of local characteristics, habits of the inhabitants of these localities and marketing possibilities. These activities and projects are based on the trial and replication of and model development for relevant technologies and crop-farming/stockbreeding techniques.
The most significant sub-sector in terms of livelihoods in non-irrigated areas is stockbreeding. It is apparent that relevant efforts have to be made to improve and revitalize this specific activity, which is both promising and also inherent in the culture of the region. The GAP Administration is presently engaged in intensive efforts in this area together with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs and Provincial Governorates. Considering the characteristics of the region, a special model was developed for a more scientific and controlled small ruminant breeding. with the expansion of this model known as "GAP Rings" both extension and protective vet service needs of breeders can be satisfactorily met.
Another problem in the region is the fact that stockbreeding activities take place at the urban centers of the provinces of Diyarbakir, Batman, Sanliurfa, Siirt and Sirnak. It is apparent that there is urgent need to remove this "urban stockbreeding" out of such centers and allocate out-of-town areas for this activity in order to improve quality and also protect the environment and health of urban dwellers. As a first step in this line, the preliminary study was conducted for the "Siirt Organized Stockbreeding Project". The project focuses on the following: Removing stockbreeding activities within the city and gather them in a special area out of the town; Promoting integrated stockbreeding to lower the cost of inputs; Introduction of better marketing possibilities; Prevention of environmental pollution; Establishing facilities to process animal products and finished and semi-finished goods and generation of employment.
To close the feed gap, which is regarded as the most important problem in stockbreeding, the Administration is now waging efforts together with others to develop the "Feed Blocks" technology under specific circumstances of the region.
Water resources development projects in the region will also generate many water reservoirs and ponds. To utilize these waters and introduce new economic activities, efforts are being made with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, provincial governorates and DSI for the development of water products.
The GAP region is poor in forest cover and forest resources. The forested area in the region is about 1.1 million hectares. The problem of erosion has gained excessive dimensions in some provinces. As a response, the GAP Administration is leadingReforestation and Erosion Control activities together with the Ministry of Forestry, Governorates and NGOs like TEMA Foundation.
"GAP Agriculture Coordination Committee" have been established to apply with effective and coordination of agricultural activities in GAP Region with Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs. An cooperation agreement was signed between GAP Regional Development Administration and Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs at 1 September 2004. In addition studies which under the 7 sub-tittle have been started. Study groups for each topic had been formed and reports were submitted and detail activities programs for 2005 has been prepared by the groups.
Last Update : 3rd May 2005