Pastures greener in hands of villagers

Officials note that pastures have important functions preventing drought and erosion by holding precipitation.

July 12, 2007, Thursday/ 19:45:00
The Golden Flag Project, launched by the Agriculture Ministry, has taken promising steps toward its goal of improving pastures and green fields with the help of the people living in rural areas.
The project introduces the classification of pastures, like hotels and bays, based on beauty and quality while it aims at improving green fields against the drought stemming from climate change. In response to Today’s Zaman’s questions, ministry officials said: “The most beautiful aspect of the project is the public support provided while green fields are protected and improved. The villagers who seek to be awarded honors for their efforts are racing to beautify the pastures.”

The ministry officials noted that pastures have important functions against both drought and erosion by holding precipitation. “It is very important to protect and improve green fields and pastures, which are the most important resources for a sustainable environment. In order to minimize the negative effects of the greenhouse gases such as drought and climate change, an issue that is on the agenda of our country, pastures and green fields should be improved and the effects of forests should be increased. Indeed, pastures and green fields retain precipitation, thereby preventing drought and erosion and improving soil efficiency. In economic terms, they should be preserved as they are rich sources of quality roughage for animal rearing. Most importantly, they serve as a natural habitat for numerous plants and animals, and we have launched a project for raising people’s awareness of their value. The project has generated much interest among villagers, who came to regard it as a competition for beautifying pastures. The project will be improved.”

Noting the legal loopholes related to green fields, experts stated that the people have learned about their rights and duties set forth in Law no. 4342 on pastures. They emphasized that this competition is also important for third parties who are nature lovers as the people who get tired of city environments can now find peaceful resting places in pastures and green fields that have been improved.

Competition among 47 pastures

In the competition for beautifying the pastures in which 47 villages or municipalities from 29 provinces participated, six provinces were awarded the Golden Flags. Kaşıkçı (Tekirdağ), Emenli (Samsun) and Çelebiler (Sivas) were presented their prizes by Agriculture Minister Mehdi Eker, while Büklümdere (Erzincan), Alifakı (Mersin) and Apa (Denizli) have yet to be given their prizes.

Experts said the target audience of the project is those who utilize pastures and green fields and environmentally conscious people. “The model villages and municipalities that are successful with respect to pasture improvement projects and pasture usage were identified by the provincial directorates, and 47 candidate villages/municipalities were found by the ministry to be eligible for the competition. Candidate villages and municipalities were divided into five groups, and coordinator provincial directorates set up juries to decide for each group. Two top-ranking villages or municipalities have been determined from each group. Finally, the Golden Flag jury elected the winning villages or municipalities,” they said.

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