Ankara University, Faculty of Agriculture, Dept. Of Agr.Econ.-Turkey
The Republic of Turkey Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock has been organising a competition, whose title is “Women Farmers Contest” and which aims to promote social status of women who live in rural areas and are engaged in farming, to provide efficient knowledge, in Turkey since 2004. The aim of the competition; is to evaluate the knowledge and performance of women farmers, to assess the outcomes of training-publications for these women, to raise self-confidence of these women, to raise consciousness of healthy nutrition and producing high quality crop and to create, increase entrepreneurship. The Competition awards prizes, which are cash money, loan support, tractor and other equipment support, livestock and agricultural insurance, to women, come in city, regional and national levels competition. The competition takes places among women farmers based in the rural areas of 81 cities in Turkey. In the final phase of the city, region and Turkey Competition, there are questions about plant production, animal breeding, agricultural mechanisation, nutrition, child development, agricultural enterprise, agricultural organisation, the management of family ownership and handcrafts. “Women Farmers Contest”, which is knowledge competition and has been organised among women based in rural areas since 2004, generates huge excitement and creates competition environment among women and families. In order to reveal the economic, social and cultural effects of the “Women Farmers Contest”, a survey was conducted in 24 cities in Turkey and among 61 women who participated in the final of Turkey Competition. The survey shows that there is an increase in the self-confidence of women and these women deal with agricultural technological activities more than the past, have much more structural questions in their minds and strengthen their position in family and social environment. In addition to these points, some basic facts from research on the effect of the competition can be summarised as follows; women want to appear and participate in all fields much more than they do now. The competition can serve as a source of respect, knowledge and a tool of social transformation among women in rural areas. There is a high level interest in the competition among young women (21-30 years old). After the competition, 67.7% of women started to drive tractor. Labour force participation rate has increased after the competition. 70.5 % women started to contribute to the family income at small or high level. Women, who work in agriculture sector, are usually from informal labour. The Competition increased the sensitivity among women and families to this issue or informal labour. The rate of social security system among women increased more than 50%. High level of women, 91.8 %, has mobile phones. Computer usage and access to internet increased among women who are under 40 years old. The Competition has important results also for “married” women. 36 out of 49 married women stated that “they can live without support from anyone else or depending on someone else” and 24 out of 49 women state that “there is an “increase” in the level of contribution to life and education of their children”. While there were 36 women participated in decision making process of family expenditure, this figured became 52 after the Competition. There were 30 women, who said “I can apply to agricultural institutions and organisations when I need” and this figure became 45 after the Competition. 67,2 % women considered the Competition as “informative-instructive”. This paper will present qualitative and quantitative data about women farmers, who participate in the Competition, and the research on “effect evaluation” will present qualitative and quantitative data as well as analyse change observed among women after the Competition.