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04ANKARA4400 2004-08-06 09:21:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Ankara
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1. (SBU) On July 26, PO and DPO attended an informal
Southeastern Anatolia Project (GAP) background
presentation by several of the former GAP chief
agricultural researchers now residing as retired
faculty at Cukurova university. The briefing was based
on approximately 18 month-old data, but was still
informative. The professors lamented the rise of
salinity in the Adana area and noted that the process
is beginning in Harran now due to heavy surface
irrigation and almost exclusive cotton cultivation, a
percentage that recommend be no greater than about 35%
of the crop mix. While they thought that Harran
farmers would slowly adapt to the merits of crop
rotation and mixed seasonal planting, including fruit
trees and cash crops like almonds, they said it took 25
years for Adana's Cukurova farmers to learn and the
Harran plain area farmers did not have that long to
adapt given terrain and salinity tendencies there in
the face of sustained surface and sprinkler irrigation.
They also lamented the limited (one-ninth finished,
they claimed) development of the full GAP potential
and, particularly, the lack of marketing of its goods
to Middle Eastern markets.

2. (SBU) One professor also remarked that Italian and
Spanish firms are doing well in fruit cultivation joint
ventures, mainly apples, in Nigde and northern Adana
provinces, in addition to longer standing efforts in
and around Antalya. They said that Italian firms are
also doing well with specialty seasonal vegetables in

3. (SBU) Finally, in a discussion about the benefits
of trickle irrigation, several professors said that
they saw little evidence of sustained or substantial
Israeli buying or investment in the Harran region,
despite reports to the contrary. They said that Israeli
firms regularly market irrigation, particularly drip or
trickle type, technology in Harran, but there was no
"run on land near Sanliurfa by Israeli investors that
they had noticed." This was seconded by the honorary
German consul, who also unexpectedly attended. They
also said that mechanical cotton harvesting technology
has never taken off down here, but could do so in Adana
as it seems to be doing in Ege area, as boosted by a
new Israeli-Uzbek joint venture (NFI) selling its
machinery at low prices with good financing terms.
They hypothesized that labor remains too cheap in the
Harran area to see mechanical cotton harvesting