Posted by Sukru Esin
March 04, 2014
Turkish soaps are extremely popular from Morocco to Pakistan. Broadcast of a new episode often means that shops are shut down and streets are empty.
There is, however, more to the Turkish mediascape: agricultural television, for example.
A slew of projects had been launched across the country to manage poor agricultural management and outdated traditional practices, but with limited effect. In 2010, the Turkish Ministry of Food , Agriculture and Livestock Launched Tarim TV. Since then, ‘success has bred success.’ There are now 4 television stations in Turkey (1 government-owned, 3 private) offering dedicated 24×7 programming on agriculture. They broadcast talk shows and documentaries round the clock on a variety of topics such as livestock, horticulture, staple crops, beekeeping… just to name a few. They provide information to farmers about government schemes, subsidies, weather forecasts et cetera. Most content can also be accessed online where it is archived for later viewing. This makes for a huge, growing repository- one can find almost all there is to know.
Private TV channels also offer ad space. Private companies also help produce field demonstration films and documentaries. This way, an active agri-service sector is able to reach out to farmers all over Turkey.
The Turkish economy is growing rapidly, matched only by that of China. Its agricultural sector is currently ranked eighth in the world. Thanks to growing private and public investment, the agricultural GDP grew from USD 24 billion to USD 63 billion over the decade 2002-2012.
One can see agricultural TV shows playing being watched at tea houses and homes in farming areas. They have also broken through barriers and reached the marginalized, such as farmers in remote areas. This is not to say that just reach translates automatically into influence. There are plenty of farmers who watch these television shows but continue to stick to bad practices and outdated views. Nevertheless, with old ‘training and visit’ mode of agricultural extension long gone, agricultural television in Turkey has been able to bridge many knowledge gaps in Turkey.
Websites of some prominent agricultural television networks Turkey: