ARDAHAN SUSTAINABLE RURAL DEVELOPMENT PROJECT
As a result of feasibility studies undergone for many years and negotiations among countries, it was decided that Azerbaijani oil would pass through Georgian and Turkish territories and be transferred to the world market. Magnitude of the Azerbaijani oil reserves has raised the issue of which countries the pipeline would pass, not only because of financial reasons but also because of political reasons. Since the countries along the pipeline would also control the flow of the oil, the choice of countries where the pipeline passes was crucial in terms of global balance of power.
The construction of BTC (Baku-Tiflis-Ceyhan) Crude Oil Pipeline, started in 2003, was completed in 2006 and oil shipment was started. With 1774 km of Pipeline which begins from Baku and ends up in Ceyhan (1074 km within Turkish territory), 50 million tones of crude oil is planned to be supplied for world market.
BTC Consortium consists of 8 companies being led by BP (one of the shareholders is Turkish Oil Company). BTC Consortium has announced that it would provide financial support for sustainable rural development projects in settlements along the pipeline. In this context, Community Investment Programme was formed in line with the social responsibility principle.
In this context, International Blue Crescent Relief and Development Foundation has prepared a comprehensive project in Ardahan, which is the first station where the pipeline crosses the Turkish border. Within this scope, Ardahan Sustainable Rural Development Project started in June 2003 with the support of BTC, and still is being implemented in 37 villages in 4 provinces of Ardahan along the pipeline.
Project Summary: In scope of the project, income generating activities are encouraged as well as organized human resources and building institutional capacity. The project also aims to increase access to the basic infrastructure. With this purpose in mind, considering that animal husbandry is the main source of income in Ardahan, activities such as relevant trainings, fight against animal diseases, insemination, building the infrastructure on animal husbandry and collection and marketing of the animal production are implemented in this project. Beekeeping activities for women are promoted as an income generating activity. In addition, agricultural activities are also implemented not only to increase the current production but also to discover new products and new production methods which are suitable for the region, such as fodder crops, greenhouse, strawberry production, fruit production and the like.
In addition to this, one of the other important targets of the project is to generate capacity building activities for associations and unions based in project villages, such as Agricultural Development Cooperatives in Damal and Posof, in order to ensure the sustainability of the project implementations. Those cooperatives are now able to collect and market milk, which is the essence of the animal production. Likewise, those cooperatives are supported for their activities on stockbreeding, beekeeping, and provision of inputs of agricultural activities.
In terms of access to social infrastructure, activities such as establishing networks of drinking water, reconstruction of schools, rehabilitation of animal husbandry infrastructure and reconstruction of health centers are being implemented in close cooperation with local authorities.
Some of the key approaches of the project implementation are as follows:
- Community Participation in project planning
- Cooperation with Local Authorities and Communities
- Obtaining contribution from beneficiaries and local authorities
- Homogenous and widespread support to the basic and common needs
- Positive discrimination to disadvantaged sections of society
With these principles in mind, Ardahan Rural Development Project is planned to be implemented until the end of 2008.
Project Objectives: The project aims to contribute to the socio-economic development of the rural settlements along the BTC Crude Oil Pipeline. With this purpose in mind; the main objectives of the project activities are as following:
• Betterment of economic situation through income generating activities for people affected by the pipeline,
• Support to the rehabilitation and improvement of agricultural production,
• Enhancement of organizational development and institutional capacity,
• Raising awareness on and increase in access to the social infrastructure
Project Beneficiaries: Posof District and its affiliated 19 villages, 4 villages in Damal District, 4 villages in Hanak District, and 10 villages in the Central District, which are along the BTC Crude Oil Pipeline, are the direct beneficiaries in the project. Not only more than 16.000 people in the area but also the local farmers’ organizations such as Cooperatives in Posof, Ardahan and Damal, as well as unions, and rural legal entities will be the direct beneficiaries in the project.
Within scope of this project, various activities have been, and are being, implemented.
A. Animal Husbandry
Animal Husbandry activities are being implemented in 37 project villages in Ardahan, Damal and Hanak.
In response to the observed low productivity in the current breeds common to the region, artificial insemination was realized in cooperation with the Provincial Directorate of Agriculture. Two methods were applied: By means of synchronized artificial insemination, 1141 livestock were artificially inseminated in 2004 and 1390 livestock were inseminated in 2005. In 2004 and 2005, International Blue Crescent has actively took part in artificial insemination, in later years, namely, in 2006 and 2007, IBC supported the insemination activities of two freelance veterinaries. The number of animals being inseminated is as follows:
• in 2004 – 1141
• in 2005 – 1390
• in 2006 – 700
• in 2007 – 513
Livestock Health & Combating Livestock Diseases
Although animal husbandry is the main source of income in the region, it is not conducted with a high level of consciousness, which causes inefficiencies and various animal diseases. Therefore, vaccination programmes have been implemented to fight against animal diseases in the region. The implemented activities in this context are as follows:
- Parasites on livestock are common in spring and fall. They lower the productivity of livestock. However, the breeders do not have the habit of taking action against parasites. Against this background a new program in combating parasites was launched. 31.825 calves were injected with anti-parasite medicines in 37 project villages and stock breeders were trained on fights against parasites.
- Due to low awareness concerning brucellosis, a program supporting local campaign in combating brucellosis was started. In this scope, totally 4.441 female calves have been vaccinated against brucellosis diseases, in 2004, 2005 and 2006. Positive impact of this activity has been observed by breeders, especially in 2007.
- In fall 2006, more than 200 pregnant cows were vaccinated with mastitis.
- In spring 2006, 166 animals were vaccinated with septiserium.
- Support has been given to national campaigns of the Ministry of Agriculture in combating livestock diseases in villages in counties with poor access to public veterinary services (Damal and Hanak) in spring and fall 2004. Until today, IBC veterinarians vaccinated 10374, 2817, 2616, 1875 and 1068 livestocks with FMD, Anthrax, Black Leg, Leptospirosis and Toxipra-S7 vaccines respectively.
- In support to national program of the Ministry of Agriculture, 123 livestocks, which were not registered, were ear tagged in villages of Damal and Hanak Counties in spring 2004.
- 4702 livestock were examined. During health controls, 1596 small scale applications were realized.
Animal Shelter Hygiene
In animal husbandry, inefficiency occurs mostly due to the lack of animal husbandry infrastructure, such as lack of ventilation, illumination, and hygiene. Within scope of the project, activities to promote hygiene have been started: for instance, a bag of lime was distributed to the stockbreeders so they could whitewash their animal shelters in 37 villages. After whitewashing, all animal shelters were disinfected under supervision of the veterinaries and the agriculture specialists.
Livestock Feeding and Feed Production
One of the reasons of low productivity in animal husbandry is the lack of sufficient feeding of the animals. Use of only crude feed for the animals cause decrease in productivity of meat and milk, and also have adverse impact on the reproductive function of the animal. In order to overcome this problem, feed production that is suitable for the region has been encouraged. For that, firstly support has been given for demonstrations and then certified feed was provided for mass production to the project beneficiaries under subsidized prices. In this context, some of the activities realized are as follows:
- Soil analysis of 21 fields in 9 villages was realized in the scope of feed plantation demonstration
- As demonstrative studies 28.815 kg of fodder crops (sainfoin, triticale, Hungarian vetch, and clover) were distributed to 252 breeders in Ardahan, Damal, Hanak, and Posof Districts. All breeders were trained about importance of fodder crops and technically supported.
- In 2007, 131 beneficiaries were provided with 7850 kg of certified sainfoin and 950 kg of certified clover under subsidized prices.
Trainings on Animal Husbandry
4452 people received training on various subjects concerning livestock practice. Trainings included subjects such as artificial insemination, calf care and calf feedings, tits care, hygienic milking, combating animal diseases, herd management, shelter hygiene, combating parasites and brucellosis as well as feed digestion and feed plant cultivation. In some of the trainings, participants gathered in rooms and trainings took place with the help of projectors. In some of the trainings, the team of experts gave a hands-on training in animal shelters.
Symposium on Animal Husbandry
A livestock symposium was organized in Ardahan in close cooperation with the Ardahan Provincial Directorate of Agriculture. Six experts, province level public institution directors and 80 breeders participated in this symposium.
Printed Training Materials
2 separate leaflets about livestock were prepared and distributed to the stockbreeders. 2500 leaflets on livestock diseases and shelter hygiene were published and disseminated. Two different informational leaflets on livestock practice were published each for 1500 units on mastitis, brucella, and parasites.
B. Agricultural Activities
Establishment of Greenhouses and Fruit Farming
Because of the inconvenient climate conditions, it is difficult to engage in agricultural activities in Ardahan. For this reason, many agricultural products are transported from other cities; therefore, their price is much higher than the market price. Since the vegetable is scarce and expensive, vegetable consumption is low in Ardahan. In order to overcome this problem, under-cloth fruit farming was promoted in the first place. Posof was given priority because of its relatively more suitable climate, later on it was scaled up in other villages in Ardahan and Hanak. The number of greenhouses rose to around 100 in 2007 while it was as low as 5 in 2003. Within scope of the project, new greenhouses were established, and those farmers who wanted to practice fruit farming in open space were supported through provision of feed.
The difficulties that were encountered for vegetable cultivation are the same for fruit cultivation. Therefore, to encourage fruit production, a type of strawberry that is compatible with the climate of the region was determined and its production was promoted.
Maintenance of Orchards:
A total of 35 orchards in 14 villages were visited and 180 farmers were trained. Their problems were identified. Farmers were given training on organic fertilizers, pruning, soil preparation, sapling plantation, shaping saplings, inoculation, and sapling cultivation
• 3362 farmers were trained on vegetable cultivation, greenhouses, strawberry cultivation, and fruit cultivation.
• 24 greenhouses whose establishment was supported technically within the project were visited 110 times and their owners were trained.
• 4 experts from Ardahan and Posof Agriculture Directorates and 2 farmers received training at Yalova Horticulture Institute concerning up to date techniques orchard maintenance, organic agriculture and greenhouses.
• A research study concerning Posof’s Organic Agriculture Potential and Herbal Potential was realized by Uludağ University.
Symposium on Organic Agriculture
A symposium called Organic Agriculture and Organic Agriculture Potential of Posof was held in Posof. 3 experts from Yalova Horticulture Institute, Uludağ University and IBC and of 1 businessman from Akdem Herbs Company participated as speakers. 105 farmers participated in the symposium.
C. Capacity Building Activities
Activities of Posof and Damal Cooperatives within the scope of the project have been supported, establishment of Ardahan Cooperative was also supported.
• Establishment of Fruit Processing Facility and Capacity Enhancement of Posof Cooperative
In Posof, there are organic orchards of high quality but they are not processed. In order to integrate those fruits to the economy, a fruit processing facility was established. This facility would produce jam and marmelade and fruit seasoning. Posof Cooperative rented a building from the Posof Municipality and after the necessary repairments, facility was established and was transfered to use of the cooperative.
• Posof Cooperative amended its statute as to include whole project villages..
• 29 people from project villages registered with the Cooperative.
• Cooperative was provided with financial support of 1500 dollars to be used in the opening ceremony of the fruit processing facility.
• 7 capacity building sessions for Cooperative management was organized. Technical assistance provided on the management of cooperative, bureaucratic and legal procedures. Related bodies in the Agriculture Directorate participated in the sessions.
• A bee-keeping training project was prepared in partnership with the Posof Cooperative. The Project was awarded a grant by the EU. The President of Board of Director of Posof Cooperative was determined as the field coordinator of the Project by IBC.
Establishment of Milk Collection Centers and Capacity Enhancement of Damal Cooperative
Damal Agricultural Development Cooperative, which was established in Damal District Center, asked for assistance for collecting and marketing milk of the cooperative members. A milk transfer tanker was purchased and a milk collection facility whose cost is over 100.000 dollars was bought and was transferred to the use of the cooperative.
Milk collection is a challenging process. The biggest challenge stems from the difficulties of raising awareness, organizing, and gathering people together around common interests. Therefore, there was a need to enhance capacity of the cooperative to manage to do all these activities. The activities to enhance Damal Cooperative’s capacity were as follows:
-President of the Damal Cooperative was invited to 2 workshops organized by the BTC Consortium and was included in the trainings and group work as part of capacity building activities.
- A technical manager was appointed to the cooperative with a background in accounting and his salary was paid within the project budget
- The technical manager was also included in the capacity building workshop of BTC and participated in the training and group work.
- Cooperative administration was given information about the cooperative work, civil society, project implementation by the experts in International Blue Crescent.
- Damal Cooperative members were visited by experts in IBC and by the veterinaries and were given information about cooperative work, organization, milk collection, and marketing.
- In addition to the milk collection tanker that the cooperative was provided with, its members were given an interest-free credit of 65.000 dollars.
- In IBC, a Committee was formed to discuss the cooperative activities such as collection and marketing milk, i.e. sales conditions of milk, quality of the milk, responsibilities of the cooperative, legal procedures. The Committee was composed of a lawyer, an accountant, a certified accountant, a tax expert, and project coordinator.
• The necessary information was provided to the cooperative members on legal procedures and on how they can benefit from the public funds and subsidies.
• BTC rural development expert formed the revenues-expenses cost table and cash flow table; analyzed the socio-cultural features of the member villagers and offered suggestions for smooth functioning of the cooperative accordingly.
• Services of a certified accountant was procured. The certified accountant visited the cooperative regularly every month, and informed the cooperative administration and manager about the financial system, financial flow, milk collection organization and marketing.
• A lawyer provides consultancy services on the possible problems due to the payment conditions, between the cooperative and the commercial enterprises.
• Villagers within the scope of the cooperative were informed about the advantages of memberships. In this framework, the number of members rose from 135 to 230. Thus, premium rates of public subsidies for the milk producers arose.
• In its first activity year, Damal Cooperative had a milk collecting capacity of 150 tons in 2007.
• Supporting the cultivation of fodder crops within the scope of the project was done through Damal Cooperative.
One of the stakeholders of the beekeeping activities was Damal Cooperative. Logistical support was provided to the members of the cooperative so they could meet their needs on input in beekeeping.
Establishment of Ardahan Cooperative
In villages affiliated with the Central Ardahan, where the main source of income depends on animal husbandry, villagers took initiative to establish a cooperative to collect and market milk. In the establishment process, technical support was given to the cooperative members by the project team. This initiative did not prove effective because of the wide coverage of villages and the lack of engaging in common action among the members.
D. Beekeeping Activities
Beekeeping Activities for Women
Beekeeping was not effective in Damal despite its appropriate conditions because of the lack of sufficient support. Upon determination for such a need, IBC project team designed a project to support beekeeping activities. In cooperation with Ardahan Directorate of Beekeeping Production Station, beekeeping activities were supported in villages of Derekoy, Tepekoy, Otagli, Burmadere in Damal. In this context;
• 8 women were given theoretical training, and then were provided with 10 beehives with bees and 2 beehives without bees in 2006.
• In 2007, 25 women were given theoretical training, then were provided with 15 beehives with bees and 2 beehives without bees
The distinguishing factor for this activity was the fact that the women supported were visited by the technical team to check up their bee-hives and to provide them with technical support and to keep track of the development of the beehives. As a result, there has been impressive progress on beekeeping activities in Damal. Since all the beekeeping materials were bought in line with organic production, in the future, it is possible to consider organic honey production.
E. Health Trainings
Health Trainings: The villages within scope of the project have limited access to the health services. There is insufficient level of awareness on health issues, which affects the level of access to the services of health. Therefore, a training program on health issues was prepared in rural areas within the project. Trainings were offered on the following topics under supervision of a medical doctor:
-Reproductive Health (Sexually transmitted diseases, safe motherhood, birth control methods, breast cancer, and the like)
The trainings were offered by a relevant specialist doctor and 2 health personnel employed for the project.
Dental Health Training and Practice
In 37 rural settlements in scope of the project, training on dental health and dental scanning were implemented for all primary school students. A dentist and 2 medical staff visited all schools and delivered presentations to all students. After the theoretical training, a dental scanning was rendered for all students, and medical reports to keep track of their dental health were filled in. 1775 students who were examined were given toothpaste and toothpaste.
F. Home Economics
Home Economics Activities
In the scope of home economics activities, production of the folkloric Damal Dolls was supported and in project villages in Posof trainings on jam and marmalade production were undertaken. In this context, such home economics activities are as follows:
• An appropriate amount of bead and fabric, which is enough to produce around 5000 dolls were provided and was donated to the Damal District Administration.
•Damal Dolls were displayed at 2 fairs. (Paris Toy Fair and Tuyap Zuchex 2004 Gifts Fair Istanbul).
• 50 Damal Dolls were sold at Paris Fair, more than 200 dolls sold in Istanbul.
• 1000 Turkish, 1000 English, and 1000 French (a total of 3000) leaflets about Damal Dolls were distributed at fairs.
• 7 toy distributors established contact with Damal Dolls producers at fairs.
• 19 trainings on marmalade, jam, and canned food production were given to 172 women.
G. Social Infrastructure Activities
Ardahan has always been a city that faced difficulties in terms of access to the social infrastructure, along with some other services. When this project started, it was observed that in the majority of 37 villages within the scope of the project, there was a problem with access to drinking water. Likewise, the need to either construct or repair of educational or health institutions, in-village roads, village meeting rooms was also determined.
2 basic principles were kept in mind when such construction or repair activities were realized: First, in each activity, support was asked from the local authorities such as Directorate of Rural Affairs, Directorate of National Education, and Directorate of Health for the provision of equipment or supplies for the project. Second, support of the local beneficiaries was included in the implementation. With these principles in mind, the activities under this category are mentioned as below:
Villages where drinking water network was established:
• Kucuk Sutluce
• Tepekoy (ongoing)
• Cimlicayir (ongoing)
• Burmadere (ongoing)
Villages where drinking water network was rehabilitated:
Villages where irrigation and Infrastructure was established:
• Turkgozu (contribution of cement)
• Kumlukoz- (contribution of construction supplies)
• Cayircimen-(provision of pipes)
Villages where village meeting rooms were constructed:
• Otagli Village Meeting Room (ongoing)
• Ozbasi Village Meeting Room (ongoing)
Villages where in-village roads were repaired:
Villages where IT Classrooms were established and computers were provided:
• Posof High School
• Posof Student Dormitory
• Posof Public Education Center
Villages where health clinics were repaired:
Villages where schools were repaired:
• Posof High School
• With a project on “Sewage Collection Line” for the Ardahan Municipality, an EU-grant of approximately 2 million € was received
• EU-funded Reproductive Health Project was implemented in all Ardahan Province in cooperation with Ardahan Provincial Directorate of Health.
• EU-funded Bee-Keeping Trainings Project was implemented in Posof.
• Another EU-funded Ardahan Reproductive Health Project was implemented in Ardahan Province in cooperation with Ardahan Provincial Directorate of Health and Association for Promotion and Beautification of Ardahan.