The Aydın Doğan Foundation launched a project with the aim of promoting organic agriculture in the arable and developing regions of Turkey in order to create employment and public awareness in this area. The Foundation ensured that departments of organic culture were opened in numerous universities in order to graduate experts with the help of the Organic Agriculture and Stockbreeding Project, and succeeded in creating economic and environmental mobility by providing training for the region's farmers.
The Organic Agriculture and Stockbreeding Project was realized through the desire of developing the region Aydın Doğan, the Founder of the Foundation was born in and of the project being a model for sustainable agricultural production, especially in Turkey’s underdeveloped regions. The aim was to train the farmers of the region and organize workshops to lead sustainable agricultural production, thus contributing to regional economics and creating employment and working opportunities in Kelkit.
With this motive, the Aydın Doğan Foundation established a three-year vocational school, including a year-long English preparatory class. An organic agriculture department was also established in order for the youth of the region to learn Organic Agriculture and Organic Stockbreeding as a science, and to work in the Organic Stockbreeding project organized in the region.
Moreover, Doğan Organic Products Industry and Trade Inc., a subsidiary of Doğan Holding that went into operation in the region, completed another part of the Organic Agriculture and Organic Stockbreeding production project.
The Governorship of Gümüşhane, the Aydın Doğan Foundation, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Department of Organic Agriculture of the Aydın Doğan Vocational School and Doğan Organic Products Industry and Trade Inc. cooperated with the aim of providing extensive applied training on Organic Dairy Cattle Breeding and Organic Botanical Agriculture to the farmers of the region.
Within this context, the farmers, their families and local youth were trained, financial security was assured for many families and economic activity in the city improved. The Aydın Doğan Foundation also contributed to the region through other investments in Kelkit. For instance, new infrastructure facilities were built and social activities such as film screenings and free sports training from the Turkish Olympics Committee for primary school students were organized, while a new labor force has also been attracted to the region.
At the same time, the project was designed to turn Kelkit and its vicinity into a centre of organic dairy cattle breeding and stockbreeding. Doğan Organic Products Industry and Trade Inc. obtained a certificate of organicism from a control and certification institution accredited by the European Union in 2005, and the organic milk produced was presented to the domestic market. In 2006, a contracted farming project was launched in Kelkit and around 20 farmers in the region commenced organic dairy cattle breeding with over 1,000 animals. In addition to this, over 100 farmers were commissioned to produce organic feed plants, whereby the organic feed requirements for the animals of Doğan Organic Operations, and of the contracted farmers, has been procured from the region itself since 2006.
The Aydın Doğan Foundation has been providing internship and employment opportunities on organic farms for the students educated in organic agriculture at Kelkit Aydın Doğan Vocational School that was established by the Foundation as the first school in Turkey to provide an organic agriculture programme.
The project is based on respect for animal rights and their natural habitat, and has ensured that the milk produced for consumers is chemical free, healthy and reliable thanks to its exemplary social responsibility approach and organic production. Moreover, it ensures that future generations inherit fertile agricultural lands by protecting the environment today. Furthermore, the project also succeeded in preventing regional migration by training and employing the people of the region itself, in securing a considerable increase in the income per capita and in sustaining production levels.