Özyeğin Foundation gave financial and administrative support to a rural development project carried out by the Development Centre Association in the Eğil district of Diyarbakır Province between February 2007 – January 2010. Reaching 1,975 rural people living in 233 households, the project was successful in terms of positively impacting the social and economic lives of the target population as proven by the project outcomes.
Before the launch of the Eğil project, farmers mainly used traditional methods of agricultural production with low quality and minimum quantity yields. The variety of crops was limited to cotton produced in irrigated land, and wheat, barley and lentils produced in drylands. Moreover, cotton cultivation on slopes caused serious soil erosion. With the start of the project, fruit trees were planted on slopes. Drip irrigation method was introduced. Thanks to the capacity building trainings, technical assistance and field trips, the farmers received valuable information on soil cultivation, planting, irrigation, disinfection, soil fertilization and harvesting methods.
Efficiency in agricultural production increased by 30%. Crop variety increased. New crops were introduced to the farming land such as beans, corn and watermelon. Number of farmers producing summer vegetables increased by 30%, while those producing winter vegetables increased by 20%. 30 farmers started fruit orcharding. Efficiency in animal husbandry increased by 25%. Percentage of culture breed livestock increased by 25%. 50 families started silage production. Farmers started to produce their own fodder to feed their animals instead of purchasing from the market. The use of agricultural technology increased by 25%. Marketing of local products increased by 50%.
By the end of the project there was a preference on the part of the farmers to start the more profitable fruit farming. Pomegranate production started to generate significant revenue for the farmers. Animal husbandry practices and efficiency of livestock production increased greatly thanks to silage production. Women started to have an active role in their community as they earned an income through seasonal flower production.
Thanks to the introduction of new farming techniques and increased agricultural production the average annual household income of 3,750 TL increased to 6,000 TL (60% increase). Seasonal migration was reduced by 10% .