In Turkey, Farmville inspires urban dwellers to take up farming
Livestock breeding has been increasingly popular among urban dwellers
Today’s Zaman, Istanbul
26 November 2010
There has been an increase in the number of agricultural and farming loans extended by banks to doctors, lawyers, teachers and others who had never before engaged in the sector.
Observers say the main reason behind the increase in interest seems to be Farmville, a real-time Facebook simulation game in which users manage a virtual farm. A feasibility expert who spoke with the Star daily yesterday but whose identity was not revealed said some new farming entrepreneurs had asked questions inquiring whether cows bite or how many babies they have.
Turkey’s Ziraat Bankas? offers loans for agricultural activities. Their loans are given on the basis of selective criteria, such as the need for a project to include building a new farm or buying livestock. In return for the loan, the bank also puts a lien on the property. Despite these conditions, interest shown in farming loans has soared.
Feasibility experts who audit the projects say many a new entrepreneur had confessed that they became interested in the farming business through Farmville. According to Star’s report, the surge in interest also led to an increase in sheep-tending rates. The uninitiated farming investors usually hire shepherds for their newly established businesses. The monthly salary for a shepherd has gone up to TL 1,500 in the past few months.