Eastern Anatolia has a comparative advantage in dairy as well as agricultural production. Yet, as a result of liberalisation moves, small farming in the region have been declining since the early 1980s. Under the circumstances, the association Boğa Tepe Yaşam Derneği, founded by İlhan Koçulu, has made it its task to change the destiny of small farmers in the Kars region. By convincing small farmers to rely on local seeds which suit best the geographic and climatic conditions of the region - and which also require using considerably less pesticides - Koçulu managed to keep the local economy alive by providing a sustainable way of living to producers.
In a very short period of time, the size of the network of villages producing organic and local food increased to almost 30. The production of these small farmers is marketed on a fair-trade basis through a chain-store throughout Turkey. The farmers share the same machine park, which substantially reduces the cost of production and thereby provides a decent livelihood for thousands of people inhabiting the region.
In order to promote the production of different kinds of local cheese - notably Kars Gruyere, whose recipe was brought to the region by Swiss emigrants in the 19th century - Koçulu recently opened a Cheese Museum located at Boğa Tepe, Kars-Turkey.