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Turkey - Farmers worry about crop loss, sinkholes amid drought

In Turkey’s Konya province, the heart of the country’s agriculture sector, extreme drought conditions over the past two years are taking a heavy toll on farmers and the land.

Konya province produces more than 2.5 million tons of grain every year, but the lack of rainfall in the past six months has dramatically reduced grain harvests and is raising concerns over future crops.

According to Turkey’s Statistical Institute (TurkStat), grain production in Turkey is predicted to drop 5.5% from last year.

For farmers, the lack of rain gives them little option but to tap into the groundwater supplies to sustain their crops, forcing some to install illegal ground wells.

However, reliance on groundwater has seen underground water levels drop by more than two meters in the past five years, contributing to an increase in massive sinkholes across the province, worrying farmers as they spread closer to residential areas.

Konya has the second largest number of sinkholes in the world behind Florida.

More than 600 sinkholes dot the landscape and drought conditions are making the situation worse.

According to geology professor Fetullah Arik, who heads the Sinkhole Application and Research Centre at Konya Technical University, the number of sinkholes has doubled since last year’s count.

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