Sustainable Climate Change Adaptations in Developing Countries: A Case Study of the Turkish Cypriot Community's Adoption of Pomegranate Farming

Clare M. Finnegan and Omer Gokcekus

Abstract Climate change is a growing issue for developing countries, as they typically lack the technical and financial inputs to implement the necessary agricultural adaptations. These countries also suffer from the classic collective action problem; although they are able to identify the issue and a potential solution, their individual resources are not substantial enough to enact change. This article discusses north Cyprus' 2006 adoption of pomegranate production and its relationship to climate-related agricultural concerns. We argue that the Turkish Cypriot community would not have been able to start an effective pomegranate agribusiness without third-party financial and technical assistance. As a post-conflict developing community, they lacked the resources necessary to collectivize on their own and initiate crop switching. Thus, Turkish Cypriot farmers needed external resources in order to launch a sustainable development project. The programme was a successful example of sustainable peacebuilding as it required local ownership.



Climate change used to be an abstract, futuristic problem. Although there was some awareness of the need to adapt one's lifestyle to be more “environmentally friendly”, the problem lacked urgency and was perceived as an issue that the coming generation would tackle. Now it seems to be an inescapable reality. Developed countries with abundant resources, like the USA, have been able to implement certain adaptations to mitigate some of the adverse effects of climate change. How have other less affluent countries adapted?

As what Gokcekus and Bengyak (2014) discuss in regard to corruption, climate change has the most severe ill effects on those members of society (or the world) that are least capable of preparing themselves for its impact. Often still largely agriculturally based, the economies of many developing countries are especially vulnerable to environmental changes. Limited financial resources create a collective action problem; while the individual members of a developing society may know that the adaptation or modification of existing processes can help combat climate-related issues, they lack the resources—technical and financial—to adopt these changes. The problem of adaptation is particularly acute in post-conflict regions that have been isolated from beneficial economic relationships, such as north Cyprus.

North Cyprus has been a de facto separate country since Cyprus was partitioned by the “Green Line”—a UN buffer zone—in 1974 due to conflict between Cypriots of Greek ancestry and those of Turkish (BBC 2011). Under the internationally recognized Republic of Cyprus, Greek Cypriots were able to interface with the EU and the greater international community. North Cyprus was isolated, and its economic development has lagged behind that of the Republic of Cyprus. On average, Greek Cypriots have a 61 % higher per capita income than Turkish Cypriots (Gokcekus 2008, p. 15). This paper will explore how intervention by a third party helped the Turkish Cypriot community (TCC) adapt its agricultural industry to the constraints of climate change and simultaneously overcome its collective action problem. Specifically, this paper explores USAID's 2006 agribusiness programme that assisted the TCC with starting commercial production of the nutritional superfruit pomegranate.

  • [1] Any information not directly cited is attributable to interviews and personal correspondence with Berna Berberovglu, the deputy project manager of the Economic Development and Growth for Enterprises (EDGE) programme, and ˙Ibrahim Kahramanovglu, the managing director of Alnar

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