AGRICULTURE AND FORESTRY COUNCIL COMMON MIND MEETING

Dr. Bekir Pakdemirli
Jan 13 · 5 min read

In the leadership and with the support of our President, with the ideal of “Strong Agriculture Strong Turkey”, we have extended the joy of harvest of the 3rd Agriculture Forestry Council by the final declaration realized after 15 years.

In order to add new gains to the existing ones in the period of our Government and to look more confident in the future, we are happy to realize the biggest Council attendance ever, which is open to all ideas, including opinions, criticisms and suggestions of our citizens from all segments of society. With the theme of the common mind meeting, the Council where all the stakeholders of the sector, including our farmers, producers and foresters came together has been very productive and beneficial.

WHO CONTROLS THE FOOD ALSO CONTROLS THE WORLD!

As the President of the Republic of Turkey underlines in bold, National Agriculture is as important as the National Defense. Agriculture and Forestry is food, water and breath. Its existence means life, and absence means destruction. As sectors with high economic contribution, social contribution and environmental contribution, “Agriculture”, “Water” and “Forest” mean not only individual life but also national and international life.

Therefore, Agriculture and Forestry does not only mean “eating, drinking and breathing! Agriculture and Forestry also means the economy, industry, and future of a country!

Turkey is in an ambitious position in the agriculture and forestry sector! Let’s take a look at the situation with the language of the figures:

  • Despite the economic problems and climate changes in the world, our sector has continued its sustainable development by growing in 14 of the last 17 years. In 2018, the contribution of the agriculture and forestry sectors to the national product was 6.2%.
  • Our plant production has increased by 20% in the last 17 years.
  • According to the data of the first 6 months of 2019; the number of our bovine animals increased by 1 million to 18.2 million, and the number of our ovine animals increased by 4 million to 50 million.
  • Turkey is one of the rare countries in the world which increases the forest assets.

GLOBAL THREATS ARE CLOSE, GLOBAL DANGERS ARE AT THE DOOR!

While our current position in the agricultural forestry sector is as stated, global threats and global dangers appear at the same time; In 2050, the world population is expected to reach 10 billion, and Turkey’s population is expected to reach 100 million. As a natural consequence, food needs of the world and Turkey will increase by 50%. In addition, the impacts and intensity of climate change unfortunately increase day by day. Global warming has already started to affect the natural resources of the world!

So, let’s ask this question: What kind of problems will all these cause in the world and Turkey?

Problems related to food safety may increase and we may not be able to keep up with the supply of raw materials to the industry. If the growing population is not fed enough and balanced; loss of labor, loss of wealth and illnesses may occur! Also; increasing global competition, agricultural and employment policies of competing countries, hunger, waste and obesity are all the issues which concern us. We do not have the luxury to lose even a handful of soil and a drop of water in this process!

Here is the good news: As a country; we have power, we have mind and we have technology. So, Agriculture Forestry Council which is the common mind meeting is a very important opportunity to bring together and activate our strength, our minds and our technology.

The commissions of our Council focused on many different issues that are at the center of agricultural problems. Among these subjects; Water Focused Planning Period, Optimization, Organization, Agricultural product increase, Agricultural input and effective logistics, Finance and marketing, Sustainable forest and water management, Conservation of natural resources, Food safety and balanced nutrition, Women entrepreneurs and employment issues were identified as priority fields.

Over 50 thousand ideas, plans and projects passed through more than 1000 meetings during the Council. Approximately 2000 participants from 21 working groups collected a 60-item declaration by harvesting a 2000-page working document, 3000-page provincial reports, hundreds of public and private sector reports by passing them through a common mind and science filter. The 60 items that we believe that will contribute much to the agriculture and forest assets of our country can be listed as follows:

  • Accelerating Land Consolidation and Classification Operations
  • Preparation of Agricultural Land Use Plans Based on Soil Information System
  • Regaining of Idle Agricultural Lands for Production
  • Preventing the Division of Agricultural Lands by Developing Heritage Legislation
  • Supporting Women and Young Entrepreneurs for Sustainability of Family Business
  • Increasing Market Share of Ovine Meat Consumption
  • Focusing on the Studies for Breeding and Conservation of Indigenous Breeds
  • Increasing Exports and Domestic Consumption by Improving Fish Processing Sector
  • Establishing a More Effective Monitoring and Control System in the Production Chain
  • Enacting a Water Law for Efficient Management of Water Resources in Turkey
  • Simplification of Agriculture and Forestry Legislation
  • Dissemination of Contracted Production and Livestock Models

(Input financing by contracted production and financial institutions /market buyers through the cooperative of membership)

  • Becoming a Regional and Global Forest Sapling Production and Marketing Center
  • Opening Vocational Education Institutions to Support Our Farmers
  • Increasing Imitation and Adulteration Fines in Food to Deterrent Level

All the Councils organized so far have always been beneficial. Turkey’s agriculture is still standing thanks to these councils. The difference of this Council is that we will determine our roadmap in the first two months and then we will put into action an action plan taking into consideration the legislation, budget, time, human resources and effective cooperation criteria after the Recommendations of Council.

Thus, we will draw the roadmap of the next quarter century together, especially with our farmers.

And by seriously managing the follow-up of the Council, we will take all legal or public measures to implement the action plan that will come out!

Once again, I would like to thank our people for their kindness and the support and contributions of all our stakeholders who have contributed to the Council.

As I proposed at the opening of the Council by saying that I have an idea, the next date of the Council was recommended as “2024”. Together with my team, we will work in order to implement all the decisions taken until the next Council.

May the Agriculture Forestry Council be beneficial to our country,

5-year plan shed light on 25 years…

Dr. Bekir Pakdemirli

Written by

T.C. Tarım ve Orman Bakanı / Minister of Agriculture and Forestry of the Republic of Turkey

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