Izmir Metropolitan Municipality has launched a volunteer programme for the fruit harvest during the corona pandemic. Due to the curfew it is expected that many seasonal workers will be unable to attend the harvest. Young volunteers can register online and receive a video training. The municipality provides hygiene sets, including masks, gloves and disinfectants, transportation and lunch. Work in the orchards will start on 11 May. The programme is part of Izmir’s support package for the agriculture sector.
Mayor of Izmir Metropolitan Municipality Tunç Soyer has called on the youth and volunteers from Izmir to participate in this programme to support both the producers and the consumers during the pandemic. Mayor Soyer said, “Let us revive the spirit of collective work in our ancient culture in these difficult times, and not leave the producers’ products on their branches. Give a hand and let us feed both the producer and the consumer.”
Due to the curfew imposed within the scope of the outbreak measures on children and the elderly in Turkey, it is expected that a portion of the seasonal workers will be unable to attend the fruit harvest and that there will be an emergence of labor force. Again, due to pandemic measures, an increase in the transportation costs of the workers is expected which will increase cost of the harvest, thus the prices of the products.
Izmir Metropolitan Municipality has created a voluntary programme in order to complete the deficient labor force and reduce the harvest cost of the producer. Within the scope of the programme, young people between the ages of 20 to 35 who volunteer to support the harvest can become members by clicking on the “Join” cap on the main page of BizIzmir digital platforms and on the page that opens, the cap “Volunteer”. The admission process of candidates who do not have health problems and can work in the fields is completed with the “I have watched” approval after watching the harvest training video that will be sent to them.
Volunteers will be in the orchards with the producers between 07:30 to 17:00 between May 11 to June 10. Volunteers’ work programmes will be sent to them as text messages. Daily hygiene sets, including masks, gloves and disinfectants, transportation and lunch will be provided by Izmir Metropolitan Municipality. As a thank you for the support to the weekly harvest, the volunteers’ Izmirim transportation cards will be loaded with a credit for 5 rides per day, making it 35 rides a week.
Direct Support to the Producer
On the other hand, within the scope of supporting the producers, Mayor of Izmir Metropolitan Municipality Tunç Soyer has met with the representatives of the agricultural sector. During the meeting, important decisions were taken regarding the support to the agricultural sector during the COVID-19 pandemic, and concrete steps were determined for planting, harvesting and marketing processes during and after the pandemic.
As a part of the concrete steps taken to support the agricultural sector, a purchase contract was signed with the Cooperatives. During this period, Izmir Metropolitan Municipality has provided food support to 67,500 families and about 30 million liras was paid to the cooperatives for this support.
During this process, the Metropolitan Municipality has transformed 50 tons of meat supplied by the producers’ associations to one-kilogram roasted meat packs, to be added to the food packages and families in need. Fresh vegetables and fruits consisting of onions, potatoes, apples, oranges and lemons were purchased from the Izmir Vegetable and Fruit Market mongers and delivered initially to 5,000 families under the name “Resistance Package”. Within the scope of the Milk Lamb project during the pandemic, approximately 1 million 300 thousand liters of milk, which were left at the doors of 125 thousand children were also purchased from the milk producers of Izmir through the cooperatives.
In order to pay the equivalence of the elbow grease of the pod producers that have started the harvest period and to deliver the products to the consumers, purchases were made directly from the producers’ cooperatives in Izmir. Within the framework of the purchase contract signed with the Kaymakçı Agricultural Development Cooperative in Ödemiş, two kilos of fresh pods were added to the food boxes to provide citizens in-need with healthy food. Purchases will continue with peas, artichokes, plums, and cherries.
Products reach the consumer with the Mobile Market
Another application of Izmir Metropolitan Municipality for the agricultural sector in the process of combating coronavirus is the Mobile Market project. Izmir residents, who are unable to leave their houses due to the restrictions, have the opportunity to obtain fresh vegetables and fruits by means of the marketplace that comes to their doors. Thanks to the Mobile Market launched in Bornova, Karşıyaka, Buca, Karabağlar and Konak, the products are brought to the consumers. Within the scope of the project, the Metropolitan Municipality determines the price in five main products: onion, potato, lemon, apple and orange, and thus aims to provide price adjustment throughout Izmir. The product range in the Mobile Market is increased upon incoming requests.
On the other hand, Izmir Metropolitan Municipality delivers food packages purchased by citizens through the People’s Market via the BizIzmir digital platforms. People’s Market which provides about 300 kinds of products of 30 cooperatives from all around Turkey supports local production, as well as bringing citizens healthy foods. The second branch of People’s Market, the first branch of which was opened in Kemeraltı will be opened in the Gültepe district aiming to be expanded throughout the country.
Contact: Ozan Sumerkan