WWF Cooperation

Eti Burçak and WWF Turkey Cooperation

Cooperation between Eti Burçak and WWF- Turkey  

Eti Burçak has been carrying out an extensive social responsibility project in the frame of a cooperation with WWF-Turkey since 2008 with the aim to contribute to the protection of limited natural resources in our geography and to ensure sustainability of wheat as the basic raw material. The basic strategy of the project involves solving the issue of protection of natural resources not only from a single perspective but by identifying the problems in collaboration with all interested stakeholders, providing training for stakeholders, raising awareness in the society, performing researches and presenting projections of the future.

During the initial years of the project, Eti Burçak and WWF-Turkey pioneered sustainable measures in production and use of water as well as significant increases in water saving and productivity through modern irrigation in order to ensure adoption of the sustainable agriculture approach against the climate change in Konya Basin, the biggest grain storehouse of Turkey. Eti Burçak and WWF-Turkey, aiming to ensure sustainability of “wheat” as the basic and natural raw material of many types of food we consume, prepared the “Wheat Atlas of Turkey” in 2016. In 2017, Eti Burçak took a decision to preserve einkorn wheat, an important genetic heritage which is the only type of wheat passed down from generation to generation till today without genetic modification. With a view to preserve this wheat species, raise awareness on einkorn, create demand in the society and thus promote its production, Eti Burçak has broken new grounds in its own category, offering Eti Burçak with Einkorn Wheat to the market, which is the first time einkorn wheat has ever been used in form of a packaged snack in Turkey.

“ETİ Burçak with Einkorn Wheat” 

Within the scope of the cooperation between ETİ and WWF-Turkey, “Wheat Atlas of Turkey” Project has been continued with an extended scope.

Starting activity to preserve the heritage of Anatolia, to raise awareness on ancient wheat species and to hand down the local wheat assets such as Siyez (Einkorn), Gernik and Havrani to future generations, ETİ Burçak and WWF-Turkey organized panels in various cities throughout the year 2017. The panels held in Şanlıurfa, Kars and Kastamonu, where the local wheat species are outstandingly diverse, were attended by public enterprises, universities and research institutions, members of the business world, local representatives of NGOs and wheat producers. With the panels organized, the “Wheat Atlas of Turkey” has directly reached over one thousand people since the beginning of the project.

Recognized as the ancestor of all wheat varieties with a history of 10 thousand years, Einkorn Wheat has been used for the first time in Turkey by ETİ Burçak as ETİ Burçak with Einkorn Wheat in form of a biscuit in the category of packaged snacks to transfer Einkorn wheat to the future generations and to promote its production.

“Wheat Atlas of Turkey”

As the most commonly produced and consumed agricultural product worldwide, wheat is one of the most basic sources for food safety of billions of people around the world. While there has been no increase in wheat production, which is the livelihood of 15 million people in Turkey, within the last 30 years, local wheat varieties that are of vital importance now face the risk of extinction. Eti Burçak and WWF-Turkey prepared the Wheat Atlas of Turkey in order to identify the current situation of wheat in Anatolia and contribute to the survival of wheat species. Initiated in June 2015, the “Wheat Atlas of Turkey” Project presents the current situation on the wheat map of Turkey and offers a roadmap for measures which can be taken. The Wheat Atlas of Turkey, prepared through contribution by a specialized team consisting of six universities, two agricultural research institutes, one seed gene bank and the R&D department of Eti, contains significant data on wheat.

“Exemplary Town” Application in “Climate Adaptation Campaign Project”! 

ETİ Burçak and WWF-Turkey started the application of ‘Exemplary Town’ in the 6th year of Climate Adaptation Campaign Project. ETİ Burçak and WWF- Turkey chose Oğuzeli Town which is still rich in underground waters as a pilot area. And with the use of modern irrigation methods, 25% productivity increase was achieved in the pilot fields in Oğuzeli with 40% less water. Starting ‘Exemplary Town’ application in the 6th year of ‘Climate Adaptation Campaign Project’ which has been continuing since 2008 in order to promote the rational use of the water sources in Konya Closed Basin, the “Grain Storehouse” of Turkey; ETİ Burçak and WWF-Turkey aims to make Oğuzeli Town an exemplary region for the whole Konya Closed Basin and even for Turkish agriculture. 
ETİ Burçak and WWF-Turkey adopted modern irrigation techniques in total 6 fields in Oğuzeli in a short time, being drip irrigation in 5 corn and sunflower fields, and sprinkler irrigation in 1 wheat field, and achieved 25% productivity increase with 40% less water in the pilot fields in Oğuzeli. For this purpose, approximately 200 farmers in Oğuzeli received theoretical and practical training on modern irrigation by the end of 2013.

“Climate Adaptation Campaign Project” 

The cooperation between ETİ Burçak and World Wildlife Fund (WWF-Turkey) continued in 2011 with the pilot applications under “Climate Adaptation Campaign Project” to increase the awareness of farmers about the adaptation to the climate change. This project aimed at expanding the agricultural production in harmony with the climate and accelerating the transition to modern irrigation.
Within the scope of the project, the farmers were informed about the correct irrigation methods with the training and support provided and the correct agricultural practices were implemented in the pilot areas. Sprinkler irrigation methods were used on two pilot wheat fields in Altınekin and on a barley field in Çumra; and drip irrigation was used on sunflowers in Karapınar. 

These pilot applications under Climate Adaptation Campaign Project resulted in striking results in a short time. 47% saving was achieved in water and energy consumption, and 36% increase was achiever in the productivity.

There were noticeable positive results in the total saving. Total 10.470 KWH energy saving and 20.640 m3 water saving was achieved with the correct agricultural practices in the pilot areas. Considering that the average water consumption per capita is 150 liters, the saving is equal to the daily water consumption of 34.000 families with four members.

ETİ Burçak and World Wildlife Fund (WWF-Turkey) prepared a website to ensure that the “Climate Adaptation Campaign Project” reaches more people.

Visitors can sign the manifest at www.iklimeuyumseferberligi.com.tr to support the preservation of water and soil of the future generations.

In 2012, Climate Adaptation Campaign Project was chosen as one of the best applications which supports the green economy idea of Republic of Turkey Ministry of Development, Business World and Sustainable Development Association and United Nationals Development Program, creates distinct environmental benefits, is prepared according to effective policies and criteria, and creates positive impacts in social and environmental terms and was included in Turkey’s National Rio+20 Report. The Project experienced the pride of representing Turkey being among the best applications setting a good example for the whole world in Rio+20 United Nations Sustainable Development Conference in June 2012.

"ETİ Burçak and WWF-Turkey Started “Adaptation to Climate for Turkey’s Future” Campaign!"

A roadmap was prepared for adaptation to climate in Konya Basin in the light of the results of Turkey’s Future Project. According to this; it is possible to save water every year that is equal to Istanbul’s three-year water consumption with the transition to modern irrigation and the change of crop design in Konya Basin.

Starting from the results of Turkey’s Future Project realized in 2009 with the cooperation of ETİ Burçak and WWF-Turkey, the “Adaptation to Climate for Turkey’s Future” Project was realized in order to minimize the negative effects of climate change.

Starting the journey on the campaign articulated lorry prepared for the project, ETİ Burçak and WWF-Turkey aimed to train approximately 3.000 farmers and agricultural industry representatives to initiate the change and transformation in agricultural production in Konya Basin. The campaign articulated lorry toured Konya Basin between 11-17 May, and drew attention to the research findings of “Turkey’s Future Project” and gave information on the ways of doing agriculture in conformity with the changing climate conditions and using the water resources rationally. Training sessions for farmers were held in Konya city center and 5 districts including Beyşehir, Çumra, Ereğli, Karapınar, Altınekin; and there were also visits to provincial directorates of agriculture, district governorates and farmers’ organizations in the region to call them to action. Farmers and other related parties, who already feel or will feel the direct impact of climate change in the basin, exchanged opinions, comments and wishes with the officials. Aiming to create a radical change in the basin, ETİ Burçak and WWF-Turkey’s Campaign articulated lorry raised the farmers’ awareness on climate change adaptation while acting as the voice of farmers in Konya basin.

According to the results of Turkey’s Future Project, four different scenarios were developed for the years 2015-2030-2050 calculating the agricultural production and water supplies and the water need in agriculture. The scenarios determined the necessary water amount in case of planting alternative products and implementing modern irrigation techniques as well as focusing on the existing irrigation and product patterns. According to the results, it is possible to save 2.4 billion m3 water every year with transition to modern irrigation and changing the product pattern in Konya Basin. And this amount is equal to Istanbul’s water consumption in 3 years.

Other striking results of Turkey’s Future Project:

1. 65% of wetland areas in the region dried up in 50 years: When the current situation in Konya Basin is considered, it is seen that agricultural production and water use are not sustainable. And as a result, 65% of wetland areas in Konya Basin dried up in the last 50 years.

2. 70% of the basin’s wells were dug illegally: 66,808 out of 93,948 boreholes in the basin are illegal. The amount of water extracted unnecessarily from the ground is equal to 1.5 times the amount of water Istanbul consumes annually (i.e. 36 times the amount of water in Lake Küçük Çekmece); underground water resources are depleted every day.

3. 70% of the basin’s wells were dug illegally: 66,808 out of 93,948 boreholes in the basin are illegal. The amount of water extracted unnecessarily from the ground is equal to 1.5 times the amount of water Istanbul consumes annually (i.e. 36 times the amount of water in Lake Küçük Çekmece); underground water resources are depleted every day.

The research findings of Turkey’s Future Project provide a snapshot of the region’s climate in the years 2015-2030-2050. Accordingly:

  • The temperatures in Konya Basin are expected to rise by 2,5°C by 2015 and 4-6°C by the end of 2030.
  • Rainfall is expected to drop by 20-30% in Konya Basin by the end of 2030 due to increase in temperatures and evaporation.
  • 2057 is expected to be the driest year of the century.
  • Surface waters are expected to fall by 65% and underground waters by 54% in Konya Basin in the next 50 years. Consequently, the amount of usable water in the basin will decrease by 56%

  • Suggestions offered for adaptation to climate changes in future within the scope of the awareness raising campaign:

  • Accelerating the transition to modern irrigation and promoting crops that consume less water.
  • Monitoring and, if necessary, restricting the production of high water demanding crops such as beet, alfalfa, corn and sun flower.
  • Concentrating on alternative crops that use less water such as safflower (oil plant), canola (oil plant), soy, sorghum (draught-resistant fodder plant), chickpea, lentil, silage corn, oat and rye.
  • Abandoning surface irrigation and using sprinklers or drip irrigation systems.
  • Controlling underground water use and closing illegal wells immediately.
  • Preserving the basin’s wetlands and rehabilitating the damaged wetlands.
  • Organizing extensive training activities for farmers.

  • 2009
    "Turkey’s Future Project"

    The cooperation between ETİ Burçak and WWF-Turkey which began in 2008 with “Konya Basin Modern Irrigation Project” continued in 2009 with “Turkey’s Future Project” in which the effects of global climate change, one of the world’s top concerns, on Turkish agriculture were examined. Within the scope of the project; climate scenarios for the whole Turkey for the years 2015, 2030 and 2050 were developed and the effects of climate change on the product pattern in Konya Closed Basin and East Mediterranean Basin were evaluated. At the conclusion of the project, the changes that will be experienced by these basins, the grain storehouses of the country, due to climate change were set forth with scientific data and modeling. Furthermore, the changes that will occur in the temperature, rainfall and evaporation for these years were determined and it was observed how the agriculture sector will change in the future periods.

    During the first stage of the project, Istanbul Technical University (ITU) conducted a research to shed light on possible climate scenarios for Turkey in 2015, 2030 and 2050 as a result of the global climate change. During the second stage of the project, Danish Hydraulic Institute (DHI) conducted a research based on this data for Turkey in general and Konya Closed Basin and East Mediterranean Basin to determine the effects of climate change on existing agricultural production activities. Besides, the effect of the climate change on the biological diversity was emphasized.

    "Konya Basin Modern Irrigation Project"

    ETİ Burçak and WWF – Turkey cooperated on a modern irrigation project to preserve the water resources of Konya Basin, which is the grain storehouse of our country and will be hit the hardest by drought caused by the global climate change. With this project, we pioneered in the spread of modern irrigation methods in our country by realizing an exemplary project in Konya Basin, which is one of the world’s most important 200 regions in terms of bio-diversity but where water resources are rapidly depleted due to improper practices and reckless irrigation methods, and by investing in our future. Within the scope of “Konya Basin Modern Irrigation Project”, loss of approximately 24 million liter water was prevented.

    “Sprinkler” and “drip irrigation” systems were installed in 4 pilot areas planted with wheat and sugar beets in Çumra and Beyşehir where agricultural irrigation is applied intensively.

    As a result of these efforts, a decrease of 50% in water usage was achieved and water sufficient to supply a 4-person family with water for 110 years was saved. 

    200 farmers and the local residents were trained as part of the project and modern irrigation equipment was promoted and as a result, energy savings of 58% and labor savings of 87% were achieved with a 30% increase in productivity. This is an indication of how greater productivity can be achieved with less water and energy if traditional irrigation methods are abandoned.
    An Innovation in Sprinkler Irrigation

    Within the scope of “ETİ Burçak – WWF – Turkey Konya Basin Modern Irrigation Project”, an innovation was made in the sprinkler irrigation system which is widely used in certain areas of our country. Unlike the classical sprinkler systems that can reduce the water permeability of the soil due to the large size of the water drops that hit the ground during the irrigation and which consequently results in greater water consumption; sprinkler heads with a low flow rate were used. Therefore, twice as much area was irrigated with the same amount of water when compared with the normal sprinkler heads. Not only sprinkling and drip irrigation increase yields but they also reduce the harmful effects of irrigation. The pollution that occurs on the surface, and the contamination of the underground water with nitrate, pesticides, salt and potentially toxic elements are prevented with modern irrigation methods.

    The amount of water per capita in Turkey has fallen over the last 20 years from 4000 m3 to 1,430 m3 and it is estimated that by 2030, it will fall to 1,100 m3 of water per capita with a population of 100 million. 72% of the water in Turkey is used for agriculture and 92% of agricultural irrigation is conducted with the traditional methods. As a result, more than 50% of the water disappears in the field before it even reaches the crops due to primitive and improper irrigation methods. 

    Current Situation with Water 

    There is No Life without Water: Water is one of the most important natural resources for all living organisms. There are many areas in which water is required such as human consumption, ecosystem usage, economic development, agricultural production, fishery, energy production and national security. Human beings may live for approximately 40 days on water alone without eating any food but can only survive for 10 days without water.

    Limited Water Resources: More than 96% of the world's water is salty water. Almost 70% of the remaining 4% fresh water resources are tied up in ice and glaciers. The other 30% of fresh water is under the ground. The surface waters such as rivers and lakes constitute less than 1% of the world’s total water.

    Turkey is Not Rich in Water Resources: The amount of water per capita in Turkey has fallen over the last 20 years from 4000 m3 to 1,430 m3. And it is estimated that by 2030, our population will be 100 million and the amount of water per capita will fall to 1,100 m3. Turkey is quickly becoming a water poor country.

    We Use Water Improperly in All Sectors: The most fundamental problem in Turkey related to water resources is lack of planning when it comes to water usage in different sectors. 72% of the water in Turkey is used in agriculture and this is followed by 18% for household use and 10% for industrial uses. Unauthorized use in agriculture, industry and urban areas, excessive consumption and pollution are the primary challenges.

    “Reckless” Irrigation in Agriculture: In the agriculture sector where the most significant amount of water is consumed, only 8% of the irrigated area utilizes pressurized irrigation (sprinklers and drip irrigation); and traditional surface irrigation methods (row irrigation, check flooding and flooding method) are used on the remaining 92%. The result is that water, which is “a finite resource”, is being wasted, distribution and drainage networks with ever larger capacity are being constructed, more energy is being consumed and thus, costs are rising.

    Water “Leaking” from Cities: According to the 2004 “Basic Indicators for Municipal Drinking and Potable Water", the network loss calculated by subtracting the amount of water distributed to users from the amount that enters the drinking and potable water network is approximately 55%. Water loss in the networks of 16 metropolitan municipalities with almost 40% of the population of Turkey is close to average 50%.

    Polluted Waters: According to data of the year 2004, there are purification facilities in 319 out of 3,213 municipalities in Turkey. In 2004, there were only 168 waste water purification facilities which employed physical and biological purification methods for waste water. Besides, there are only 4 facilities in Turkey with an advanced purification system. Consequently, the total number of water purification facilities in Turkey is 172. In 2004, it was determined that 19 out of 65 Organized Industrial Zones in Turkey used a purification facility. In 2004, a total of 17,432 thousand m3/year waste water was discharged into streams and rivers without being purified from 46 Organized Industrial Zones which lacked purification facilities.

    Alarming Underground Water Situation: In regions with intensive agricultural irrigation and industrial production (Central Anatolia, Marmara, the Aegean and Thrace), uncontrolled use of underground water is common. Since January 2008, studies have been conducted over 70% of Konya Basin and as of April 2008, 92,000 wells have been identified, of which 66,000 were drilled without permission. The underground water level in Konya Basin has fallen 14.3 meters over a 33-year period and 80% of this decline has taken place within the last 10 years. Furthermore, in 2004, 46.9% of the water supplied for industry in Organized Industrial Zones in Turkey was obtained from underground sources. 

    Global Climate Change Will Impact Turkey with Drought: It is predicted that global climate change will affect the Mediterranean Basin, which Turkey is a part of, in the form of drought and thus loss of water, loss of income in agriculture and tourism, increase in forest fires and loss of biological diversity. Rainfall has fallen 20% over the last 25 years throughout Mediterranean Basin. By 2025, it is estimated that temperatures in Mediterranean Basin will increase at an average of 0.7 – 1.6°.

    Our Source of Life Wetlands Are Drying Up: Wetlands are the most important ecosystems on the planet because of their countless functions and value. By preventing water from taking its natural course and failing to properly calculate the environmental and social impact of the water infrastructure investments we have made, we have altered the natural structure of our wetlands. In the last 40 years, over 1,300,000 hectares of wetlands in Turkey have lost their ecological and economic properties due to drying, filling and interventions in the water system. These include Lake Amik, Lake Avlan, Lake Suğla, and Kestel, Gavur, Yarma, Aynaz, Hotamış, and Eşmekaya reeds. Many of Turkey's most important wetlands are still endangered by drying and pollution.

    The Need for a Comprehensive and Innovative Water Management in Turkey: In Turkey, it is essential to switch from merely meeting the usage demands to managing the demand for “water”. When it comes to water policy, it is inevitable to adopt an approach that includes those who use and administer this resource and the services provided in the process of planning by developing a common understanding that encompasses the entire course of each stream and river. This approach will ensure that this unique resource, which is becoming increasingly rare, is managed comprehensively instead of sector-based and partial management approach by different agencies with different philosophies.