Musahacili sugar cooperative

The village of Musahacili, half an hour drive from Kirazli, presents a very different picture. In Musahacili, most of the 385 households own their own tractors. Emigration has slowed to a trickle, and young farmers see a future for themselves in agriculture. The men in the village tea-house take pride in sending their children (both boys and girls) to nearby towns to school, and boast of the number of villagers who have gone on to white-collar work. The elected village leader (muhtar), Ali Malkoc, stresses that better education is also key to the transition to modern farming.

What distinguishes Musahacili from Kirazli is irrigation, which enables the villagers to grow sugar beet. All 1,800 ha of agricultural land in Musahacili have been irrigated since the late 1980s. All of the households grow cash crops, the most important of which is sugar beet. The Kayseri Sugar Factory makes annual contracts with farmers and provides technical support and machinery for planting and harvesting. It provides credits for fertilisers and supplies the seed. Its agricultural engineers test the soil and advise on fertilisers and crop-rotation techniques. Because sugar beet can only be grown on a plot one year in every four, local farmers have begun to experiment with other cash crops, including corn, sunflower and clover for cattle feed.

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