At the age of 22, Tülin Akın founded Türkiye’s first agricultural e-commerce platform and later pioneered the country’s first “smart village” in 2015, which has attracted global visitors for the past eight years after dedicated initiatives to familiarize villagers with technology.
While she was still a university student, she decided to do something related to agriculture. Realizing that it was very difficult for farmers to access information, Akın founded Türkiye’s first agricultural information and e-commerce website.
Following the website, which is a platform where farmers can get information and sell their products, she launched many initiatives such as information via SMS and a special credit card for farmers.
In 2015, she realized Türkiye’s first smart village project in the western province of Aydın,believing that farmers and technology should meet more.
“When I was a student, I realized that farmers lacked a lot in terms of marketing. I thought that farmers should be informed in this field on the internet, and I decided to set up a website where they could both sell their products and be informed,” Akin said.
“We collected the first agricultural advertisements in Türkiye, but it wasn’t working. At that time, I didn’t have the knowledge to set up a business model. Actually, the plan I had in mind was to have a platform where farmers could be informed, and seed and fertilizer producers could advertise on our website. I wanted agricultural workers to find jobs and sell their products here,” she said.
“While I was doing these things, my family was also surprised. My grandfather used to say that my granddaughter never left the village coffee house,” she added.
Akın wanted to create an area to show farmers what kind of results are obtained when new technologies are used and started to realize the smart village project in Aydın.
“Ninety-three percent of the crops grown in Türkiye are produced in Aydın. It was important to be at a point that is both close and far from the international airport,” she said.
The Smart Village, which hosts many farmers from abroad, receives farmer visitors from many countries, from Brazil to Uzbekistan.
Stating that women farmers are more interested in milking systems, Akın said, “While women can normally milk five cows, thanks to these systems, they can take care of 10 cows and regain their freedom. We also report on the impact of these technologies on agriculture and the sociological consequences of this.”