The case study area of Güneykent town is located in the Isparta province of the West Mediterranean Region in Turkey. The area consists of the four districts ‘Karatas’, ‘Orta’, ‘Tekke’ and ‘Yenice’. The town is located in a hillside between the mountains of Gonen and Keciborlu counties. Average attitude of the town is 1,250 meters. South plain of the town reaches to Burdur Lake and also close the Egirdir Lake. Despite the Mediterranean location the climate represents more inner Aegean and Anatolian characteristics of a continental climate zone, dominated with hot and arid summers, and cold and snowy winters. Annual average temperature is 12°C and precipitation is 600 mm. The Güneykent area is characterized by a generally rugged terrain. Altitude decreases from the North (Barla Mountains) to the South (Isparta plains). The average altitude is about 1,000 m a.s.l. Vegetation of wetland is rich but poor regarding the species. The CSA has 1,701 habitants (52.91 % of the population is female). Literacy rate is 99 % and higher than many rural areas in Turkey.
There is no specific landscape policy implemented in the case study area. The only direct landscape policy at national level is a pilot agri-environment payment project (ÇATAK), which implemented by the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock. Although Isparta is one of the pilot provinces, it is limited only Kovada Lake area and not cover Güneykent. Other agri-environmental measures are payments in order to encourage organic farming, good agricultural practices and sustainable rangeland management. Another national policy indirectly address to the landscape is the new law on Soil Protection and Land Use” came into force as off May 2014. The purpose of the law is to protect economic size of agricultural enterprises through heritage and/or selling. As Turkey is a candidate country to the EU, the IPARD programme has been implemented since 2007. However, Axes 2 (Preparation Activities for Environmentally Friendly Agriculture and LEADER) is not open, yet. It is planned to start in 2016.
The area is homogenous and cropping pattern is not so diversified. The total agricultural arable land is 12,954 ha. As a result of the agricultural policies supporting new technologies and investments, the rate of irrigated areas has increased. The area is rich in terms of endemic plants and naturally medical and aromatic plants areas. There is a tendency from naturally grown medical and aromatic plants towards cultivation of some of them (lavender, oregano) (demand oriented improvement).
About half of the land in the region of the case study area is forest, followed by arable land with 29 per cent, only 2 per cent rangeland and pastures and 17 per cent is used for the other purposes. In Güneykent, almost all farmers are involved in oil rose cultivation more or less and they produce also cereals (wheat, barley, oat), feed and fodder crops (vetch, corn). Apple and cherry are the most important fruits in Güneykent, same as the whole Isparta. Livestock production traditionally exists but they are not specialized, mostly mixed with crop production.
Agriculture in Güneykent is characterized with small farm size (average is less than Turkey’s average, 6.1 ha), rapid technology changes in the last decade (irrigated area rate recently increased to 30 per cent, certified seed uses increased, rejuvenating of old rose fields, new developments in diversification in crop pattern and in changes from raw material production to processing). Main field crops are wheat, oil rose, vetch, poppy seed, alfalfa and sugar beet; while tomato and pepper takes the higher areas of vegetable production. Fruits production is important agricultural activities not only for Güneykent but also Isparta. Main fruits of the region are historically and traditionally apple, cherry, sour cherry and walnuts. Recently modernization in the orchards also increased the yield and quality of these traditional fruits in the region. Although the region was traditionally important small ruminant production centre, recently it is not the dominant income source in Güneykent but farmers are used to have sheep and/or goat more or less for their own consumption and/or urgent liquidity needs.
While the traditional function and services of the landscape in Güneykent has been providing food and raw material to industry, recently there are severe changes in it. Its aesthetic value contributes to region’s economic value through agri-tourism, cultural and health activities. The town is rich in terms of cultural heritage. There are many touristic places in Güneykent town and neighbourhood. It is believed that the tomb of Yunus Emre who was a Sufi poet and great philosopher. Another historical place is a castle from Romaine and Byzantine period which is found in the Kalburcu settlement of Güneykent.
In addition to its own landscape functions, being in the lake regions, close to the mountain area and spiritually important places in the neighbourhood add economic value. Tourists usually visit the region via tour operators/travel agencies which include different kind of places and activities in few days and Güneykent became one them. As a result of the efforts by the local government of Güneykent (Municipality) and supports the West Mediterranean Regional Development Agency (BAKA) while there were only 6 (six!) foreigner visitors to Güneykent in 2011, it increased to 350 in 2012; to 1,000 in 2013; and 1,080 in 2014. Most of them are from Japan and Taiwan, and few from the USA. In 2014, Turkish visitors out of the region also discovered the landscape value of the region and Güneykent received 1,500 visitors from different parts of Turkey which were not even counted before. The influences of the increase in the numbers of tourists have already occurred in the region. The female rate in employment has increased, especially in the services as they initiated new food (traditional village brunch, cookies) and souvenir making business areas for visitors.
Employment opportunities and income sources in Güneykent have been formed by the landscape of the region both traditionally and recently. Recently even if there are more diversified economic activities in Güneykent it is based landscape. There are 471 producers dealing with rose farming in Güneykent. Considering the small population of Güneykent and average family size, we can say that all habitants are involved in this business in a way. There is also one rose oil processing factory in the area and contributes to employment, too. Although share of industry in the region is lower than national level, especially rose products (like rose delight and cosmetics products etc.) make considerable contributions to the region. There is an increasing trend in tourism services which is thanks to oil rose gardens (harvesting tours). It encourages to new employment areas and income sources, like traditional food and souvenir production for visitors; social networking among the residents; producers involvement in the further steps of the value chain; the other medical and aromatic plants production and processing.
References & Further Reading
Bilginturan, S., Taskin, H. (2012). Oil Rose Farming in Guneykent 2001-2011, Her Yonuyle Gul Sempozyumu, 7-9 June 2012, Isparta.
İkiz, M. (2011). Comparative Economic Analysis of Organic and Conventional Oil Rose (Rosa Damascena) Production in the Lakes Region, M.Sc. Thesis, Suleyman Demirel University Graduate School of Natural and Applied Sciences Department of Agricultural Economics.
F. Handan Giray, Tufan Bal
Suleyman Demirel University (SDÜ), Faculty of Agriculture, Department of Agricultural Economics
East Campus 32260 Isparta, Turkey