Drought in central Turkey risks dramatic reduction in grain harvest

A drought which been impacting central Turkey's Konya province risks dramatically reducing the grain harvest for this season, as a lack of precipitation has prevented planted seeds from sprouting. As farmers' livelihoods hang in the balance, some experts suggest importing water to the region.

Duvar English

Seeds planted in Turkey's top grain-producing province of Konya have yet to sprout as a result of low precipitation, raising concerns about a small harvest.

Selçuk Univesity Agriculture lecturer Prof. Süleyman Soylu noted that sprouting is essential for a healthy harvest, but that drought has hindered it this season, even led to rotten seeds in some areas.

"Precipitation this year has been less than half of past years, not sufficient to allow any crop sprouting," Soylu said. "This drought really has farmers concerned."

Noting how crucial food security is during the COVID-19 pandemic, Soylu said that this year's drought could have a dramatic impact on the produce yield for this upcoming harvest. 

The province hasn't seen rainfall in eight months, necessitating the import of water for farm usage, Konya Beets and Agricultural Producers Association Chairman Ahmet Bestil noted.

"Konya definitely needs water imported from other basins. The drought is putting farmers' income below costs," Bestil said. 

Water levels in Konya's underground basins have also dipped, increasing the cost of extracting it, Bestil added.