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March 6, 2012

JICA arranged a mission to the GAP Region in southeast Turkey and a panel discussion on "Sustainable Agriculture and Environment"
(March 5 & 6, 2012 – Sanliurfa)

PhotoJICA got the explanation at 19th Regional Directorate

1. On 5 and 6 March, JICA arranged a mission to Turkey's Southeastern Anatolian Project (GAP) Region, where it visited several GAP project sites in Sanliurfa and also arranged a panel discussion on "Sustainable Agriculture and Environment". The mission comprised of representatives from private Japanese companies with interests in business situation in the southeast Turkey. The mission was met by representatives of Harran University Faculty of Agriculture, who invited the group to visit the Yaylak pressurized irrigation system and the Suruc pumping facility, which pumps water from the Ataturk Dam in order to supply water to the vast agriculture fields. The group then visited the Ataturk Dam, the fifth largest dam in the world, and received a detailed briefing on the scope of the GAP from project manager.

2. The GAP is Turkey's ambitious multi-sector and integrated regional development project that aims to improve living standards and income levels, eliminate regional development disparities and promote social stability and economic growth by enhancing productivity and employment opportunities in the rural area. The GAP area covers 9 provinces in the Euphrates and Tigris basins and the Upper Mesopotamia. Initiated in the 1980s, the GAP's achievements include the construction of 22 dams, 7,490 MW energy capacity, and 1,792,937 ha irrigation land. Moreover, through GAP, the region is generating more than US$4 billion per year for the national economy from improved irrigation revenue and energy generation.

PhotoJICA visited Ataturk Dam

3. Deputy President of GAP Regional Development Administration highlighted for the mission the investment opportunities in the region. He emphasized that with modern facilities and infrastructure such as airports and paved highways, accompanied by low cost labour source and a growing regional market, the region is ripe for foreign investments.

4. On the second day of the mission, JICA participated in a panel discussion on "Sustainable Agriculture and Environment", organized by the Agriculture Faculty of Harran University. Panellists included faculties from Harran and Dicle Universities, and a JICA senior expert, Dr. Hideyuki KANAMORI. Dr KANAMORI presented the Japanese sustainable agricultural practices that are environmentally friendly. Prof. Mehmet Ali CULLU, dean of Faculty of Agriculture, Harran University, and Prof. F. Kemal SONMEZ, dean of Faculty of Agriculture, Dicle University presented key issues, solutions and opportunities under the GAP project.

PhotoConference Hall of the Panel

5. Over 200 people attended the panel discussion, including the governor of Sanliurfa, Mr. Celalettin GUVENC, the rector of Harran University, Prof. Halil Ibrahim MUTLU, and the president of the GAP Regional Development Administration, Mr. Sadrettin KARAHOCAGIL. Many people showed great interest in the event and actively engaged during the question and answer session. Moreover, the event received wide media coverage, and news articles about the panel discussion appeared in 13 newspapers.

6. Overall, JICA recognizes the significant role the GAP Regional Development Project has for improving agricultural production and ensuring food safety, as well as the potential investment opportunities. Through this visit, JICA built up a fruitful network in the region, while private Japanese companies are carefully noting the potential gains for their own businesses. JICA wishes to extend its appreciation to all those individuals and organizations that were involved with arranging this very informative visit.

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