Nazire Korkmaz loves getting her hands in the earth. As a Quality, Sustainability and Counter Safety Manager in Turkey, feeling the soil and roaming the potato fields is the best part of her job. “The fields are a really exciting place for me,”
says Nazire. “I take soil samples, potato samples and measurements. I’m physically working with the crops that make our foods.”
Spending time in the fields also gives her the opportunity to collaborate with PepsiCo farmers. Nazire leads the newly launched demonstration farm in Turkey that puts farmers at the center of exploring regenerative agriculture methods which can build healthier
soil, conserve water and capture carbon. The farm is made up of a network of local growers to test and refine new technologies and best practices to develop the techniques that will work for their land.
Many regenerative agriculture practices were once part of traditional farming methods, but they’ve fallen away as chemical interventions grew. Demo farms are a way to reintroduce these practices while also sharing new technologies and tools.
The regenerative agriculture techniques can involve reviving the “old” ways like minimizing the need to till or planting cover crops to improve soil health and increase biodiversity, for instance. But they’re also increasingly digital,
using AI to track and control the spread of disease on crops to lower the need for fertilizer and pesticides. They can help bring circularity to farms, turning potato peels from cooking Lay’s potato chips into a low emission fertilizer.
I'm playing a role in helping to ensure we can keep our farmers sustainably farming into the future.
Developing innovation to manage Turkey’s precious water resources is a significant priority for Nazire as well. As the region contends with the aftermath of the 2021 drought — the worst in two decades — and the recent record high temperatures,
Nazire and her team are adapting drip irrigation systems at the demonstration farm. These systems enable water and nutrients to go straight to the crops’ roots, increasing yields. After seeing positive results, more farmers are using these techniques,
Nazire explains. "Not only are our farmers interested in drip irrigation, but other suppliers are approaching us asking to learn about it and how they can use it, too.”
The demonstration farm program doesn’t just make the land healthier and lower carbon emissions. Learning the regenerative techniques also helps the farmers increase their yields and strengthen their business into the future, offering benefits for
local farmers and their families.
Many people in Turkey’s agricultural communities have also been impacted by natural disasters, like the earthquakes that struck southern and central Turkey in February. Nazire and her team offered resources to local farm families during this challenging
time. “We were constantly communicating with our farmers and suppliers asking them what we can do to support them,” she says.
Working with farmers to invest in PepsiCo's Positive Agriculture initiatives is part of the company’s pep+ (PepsiCo Positive) transformation that places sustainability at the core of the company’s business. The demonstration farms support
the goal of spreading regenerative practices across 7 million acres, an area roughly equivalent to the company’s entire agricultural footprint, by 2030.
Regenerative agriculture is not just a temporary solution — it’s protecting our earth’s natural resources for years to come, Nazire explains. “It’s really important for our future to save the environment, to save the soil
and to save the water in the world," says Nazire. “I'm playing a role in helping to ensure we can keep our farmers sustainably farming into the future.”