Partnership between Turkey, Africa based on mutual benefits, cooperation, says Bekir Pakdemirli…
Turkey’s agriculture and forestry minister on Friday urged the African Union to act collectively for food security.
“The African Union, which constitutes one-sixth of world population, must act collectively to be more resilient against the possible new threats,” Bekir Pakdemirli said at the Agriculture Ministers Session of the 3rd Turkey-Africa Partnership Summit held in Istanbul.
“Therefore, we have to transform our food systems to make them more sustainable,” Pakdemirli added.
Citing latest data, Pakdemirli said some 10% of the world is facing hunger and one in three people cannot access adequate food.
Pakdemirli noted that the meeting would make substantial contributions to sustainable development by addressing the issues of sustainable food, agriculture systems, and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on access to food.
The partnership between Turkey and Africa is based on mutual benefits and cooperation, Pakdemirli stressed.
He said that unless decisive actions are taken to combat the coronavirus pandemic, the world will fail to meet its pledges to eradicate hunger and malnutrition by 2030.
Noting that COVID-19 has raised the importance of agriculture for humanity, Pakdemirli said: “As a country hosting the largest number of refugees in the world, Turkey does not ignore the vulnerable and disadvantaged groups as well.”
Turkey aims to support Africa’s development efforts while boosting its own commercial, cultural and human relations with the continent.
“Our main purpose is to establish a deep-rooted cooperation with our African counterparts in a sustainable and mutually productive manner,” he said.
African countries account for 10.6% of Turkey’s agricultural exports worth $2.2 billion and 7.9% of its agricultural imports worth $1.2 billion.
Citing a World Bank report, he said Africa’s agriculture and agribusiness industry would more than treble in value from 2010 to $1 trillion by 2030.
Noting that Africa’s exports are mainly dominated by raw materials, Pakdemirli said: “This situation should be reversed to a system which promotes export of high value-added products. Your countries have this potential.”
He underlined the importance of increasing the value of productions, marketing tools, brand qualities, technical and scientific infrastructures, and sustainability levels.
“Working together and considering existing and new cooperation areas in our region will help us achieve more sustainable food systems, take more concrete actions, exchange our experiences and disseminate good practices,” Pakdemirli said.