Turkey - Promotion of Drip Irrigation in Sugar Beet Production

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Dripping with success

Turkey's 1.3 million hectares of wetlands have been severely degraded through unsustainable water use, primarily for agricultural purposes. This trend is particularly true and alarming for the production of sugar beets, which are considered to be one of the most water-intensive crops. Traditionally, sugar beets are watered using surface irrigation that exacerbates the adverse effects of nutrient leaching and degrades sensitive wetlands.

The Global Environmental Facility's Small Grants Programme (SGP) provided financing to the Kayseri Sugar Beet Cooperative to improve the drip irrigation system and disseminate good practices through an awareness-raising campaign,with the aim of building the capacity of farmers

and technical experts. The Cooperative is a community-based organization made up of farmers and technical experts who have been implementing pilot drip-irrigation projects.

Over the course of one year the Cooperative will initiate several activities to enhance the water management practices of farmers and raise awareness among the community regarding the effects of continued unsustainable watering.

The Cooperative will launch a ‘drip irrigation' report that compares the various methods of irrigation and watering. This report will be disseminated to the relevant stakeholders. In addition, training sessions on the proper implementation of drip irrigation will be initiated and a documentary film on drip irrigation will be produced. In following a ‘learning-by-doing' approach, the cooperative will also install new drip irrigation systems in 1,500 hectares of land as demonstration projects to further promote this more environmentally sound approach.


Drip Irrigation in Sugar Beet Production
Drip Irrigation in Sugar Beet Production

Promotion of Drip Irrigation in Sugar Beet Production

Focus Areas

Geographic Scope

Turkey, Central Anatolia, Kayseri


UNDP is providing support to this particular project through the GEF Small Grants Programme (SGP), that it implements on behalf of all three GEF Implementing Agencies, i.e. UNDP, UNEP and WB. With its commitment to the conservation of the global environment and its direct support to implementation of the SGP, UNDP contributes to the achievement of MDG7, the sustainable development objective of the Millennium Summit. Established in 1992, SGP embodies the very essence of sustainable development. SGP channels financial and technical support directly to NGOs and CBOs for activities that conserve and restore the environment while enhancing people's well-being and livelihoods.

SGP aims to develop effective and replicable community level strategies and implement technologies that reduce threats against the global environment, gather lessons from community-level experience and initiate the dissemination of successful strategies as well as lessons learned, in a participatory manner involving all stakeholders for an effort to support and strengthen the capacities to address global environmental problems and to promote sustainable development.

With this particular project, SGP tries to support a local initiative aiming to demonstrate and promote drip irrigation in the production of a very water-intensive crop, the sugar beet. The project is a very good example as it is a local initiative, has been successfully implemented and is easily replicable. The Cooperative, with the project, will both be able to demonstrate and disseminate the information to the area, if not nation-wide, by field results and scientific proof and will be able to rectify the mistakes of the first installation. The project is also hoping, by way creating a demand for the drip irrigation systems, to create a more diversified supply of the same. It is also important to note that the project is very much supported by the private sector and is a promising new area for emerging entrepreneurs.


A. Ozge Gokce, Programme Associate (ozge.gokce@undp.org), Small Grants Programme (SGP) in Turkey

Uğur Metiner, Project Coordinator

Aysin Tektaş, Project Consultant

formerly: Zeynep Bilgi Bulus, National Coordinator of the GEF Small Grants Programme (SGP) in Turkey


Background and Significance

The Challenge(Need for Action)

Turkey’s 1.3 million ha of wetlands has been degraded in the 20th century due to unsustainable water use and management practices specifically for irrigation. Traditional irrigation methods are wasteful, in addition, thirsty crops particularly sugar beet consume much water than the other crops. Some practices indicate that transforming traditional irrigation system into modern system namely drip irrigation system in the sugar beet production can save water up to 70%-80%.

Goal and Objectives

The project aims to promote drip irrigation in Kayseri, an area, very much characterised by the production of sugar beet in Turkey, which is considered among one of the most water-consuming crops. The traditional method is the surface irrigation of the plant, which in turn causes nutrient runoff from the soil, both resulting in salinisation and pollution of the water and land resources in the area. The project, with demonstrating the proper irrigation techniques, will be contributing greatly to the conservation of water and soil as well as the wetlands via reduced amount of water use. Drip irrigation in sugar beet production also helps in reducing the use of fertilisers as in this method, the fertiliser is used in scarcer quantities which are directed to the root of the plant and is not spread elsewhere.

The project builds on the experience of the Kayseri Sugar Beet Cooperative in using drip irrigation for the past several years in sugar beet production. The Cooperative already installed 5000 ha drip irrigation in the last year. The Cooperative however, also identified the mistakes which caused low performance. With this new project, the Cooperative would like to review and rectify the errors, install new and more effective systems and to disseminate the knowledge and experience as well as the methods to establish the system and how best to utilise it during sugar beet production.

The Experience: Challenges and Solutions


The expected outcomes of the project as follows:

1-Short documentary film and brochures about drip irrigation techniques in sugar beet production to be used in public awareness activities in the semi-arid Central Anatolia are prepared;

2- Farmers recognised the effectiveness of “drip irrigation” in sugar beet production and proper irrigation practices;

3- Improvement of the existing drip irrigation systems and efficiency of the system in sugar beet production is realised;

4- Controlled dissemination of drip irrigation in selected sugar beet production lands in Kayseri has started;

5- Academicians in Agricultural Faculties, decision-makers at Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (and its local representatives), local irrigation unions and experts in Sugar Beet Cooperatives recognised the effectiveness of drip irrigation in sugar beet production and take part in its promotion.


Kayseri Sugar Beet Cooperative is implementing the project. The main stakeholders are the sugar beet producers and the technical staff of the Cooperative. Also, the Provincial Directorate of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs will be supporting the project as well as benefiting from it.


The project implementation area is in Kayseri, Central Anatolia region of Turkey


The project implementation started at May 1 2006, and it is planned to be completed by May 31 2007


Following steps are being taken and will be taken during the course of the project:

  • Documentary film on drip irrigation have being prepared
  • 2000 brochures will be prepared and disseminated to stakeholders
  • Two farmers meetings will be held
  • A “drip irrigation report”, which compares the different irrigation methods (i.e. traditional surface irrigation and sprinkling irrigation) with drip irrigation in terms of productivity, water and energy consumption, is going to be prepared and disseminated to stakeholders
  • A training programme on proper implementation of drip irrigation will be prepared and executed for technical staff of the Cooperative.
  • Drip irrigation systems in 1500 dk. land will be implemented as the furthering of promotion of the system within the project area.

Sources of funding are UNDP GEF-SGP with 37.500 USD and Kayseri Sugar Beet Cooperative with 116.300 USD

Results and Impact

The overall objective is to conserve soil, water and wetlands with sustainable agricultural practices (effective water use, fertilizers) in the semi-dry lands of Central Anatolia. The project aims to demonstrate and disseminate the experiences of the Kayseri Sugar Beet Cooperative in using drip irrigation for sugar beet production. The NGO has been actively involved in the demonstration of the activity since 2005 in their region, which is a regular land for cultivation of sugar beet. With the SGP project, the project aims to improve the existing drip irrigation systems, install newer and more effective ones based on the experiences of the previous year. The project envisages a wide campaign for the promotion of drip irrigation including preparation of booklets, brochures and a video film.

Lessons for Replication

Testimonies and Stakeholder Perceptions

Timeframe & Status

May 1 2006- May 31 2007, Completed

Main Results


See also

Water Knowledge Fair 2006

Capacity development in irrigation and drainage: Issues, challenges and the way ahead

Irrigation in Africa, Europe and Latin America: Update of the digital global map of irrigation areas to Version 4

  1. Water Supply and Usage Improvement in Saray, Turkey
  2. Turkey Millennium Development Goals Report
  3. Turkey Freshwater Country Profile
  4. Turkey Country Profile for the Johannesburg Summit 2002
  5. The Case of the Water Framework Directive and Irrigation in Mediterranean Agriculture
  6. Supporting Mediterranean Monk Seal friendly traditional fishing in Samandag (Hatay), Turkey
  7. Roof Top Water harvesting in Beypazari, Turkey
  8. Regional Partnership for Prevention of Transboundary Degradation of the Kura-Aras River
  9. Reducing Transboundary Degradation in the Kura/Aras River Basin
  10. Promoting Replication of Good Practices for Nutrient Reduction and Joint Collaboration in Central and Eastern Europe
  11. International Black Sea Day
  12. Integrated River Basin Management in the Maritsa River Basin
  13. Country Evaluation: Assessment of Development Results Turkey
  14. Control of eutrophication, hazardous substances and related measures for rehabilitating the Black Sea ecosystem
  15. Capacity and Community Building for Industrial Water Stewardship in the Danube/Black Sea region

External Resources


 Turkey Drip Irrigation.doc

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