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During the online press conference organized by the Turkey Seed Growers’ Association (TÜRKTOB) and the Association of Economics Journalists, various issues related to seeding and agriculture were discussed. Stating that a great number of needs are met in various fields through national seeds that are bred and developed from domestic gene sources, TÜRKTOB Chairman Savaş Akçan said, “Some say that we do not have national seed production and we are dependent on Israel, but this has nothing to do with reality”.

Food nationalism gains importance…

Akcan stated in the international reports that 135 million people in 55 countries are at a crisis level or worse in terms of food security and that more serious problems may be experienced due to the outbreak, “While the production and food supply become more expensive due to the epidemic, it seems that countries prioritize their own stocks, which can be called ‘food nationalism’ at the global level. ”

Israel’s share is 8 per thousand…

Akcan noted: “The countries where we buy the most products in imports are Canada, USA, Netherlands, but these countries are changing every year. Israel is not included in this ranking. They say that we are dependent on foreign countries in seed production, we do not have national seed, we are doomed to Israel, but this has nothing to do with reality. We had an import of 183 million dollars in 2019 in seed production, which has a production value of 1.5 billion dollars. Israel’s share in this import remained at 12 million dollars which is equivalent to 8 per thousand. As explained above, there is no foreign dependency on Israel. ”

A hundred percent local seeds…

Emphasizing that the seed varieties developed by Turkish plant breeders and produced by domestic companies have no shortage compared to foreign varieties, Akcan added, “We provide 70 percent of grains, 97 percent of legumes, 92 percent of meadow-pasture and forage crops and 60 percent of vegetables through 100 percent of our national seeds, which are bred and developed from domestic genetic resources. National seed varieties are increasing day by day in products on which we have deficits such as corn, sunflower, sugar beet, cotton and potatoes.”

Exports to 91 countries…

Pointing out that farmers should use national varieties in the next period when national food sovereignty will be at the forefront, Akcan concluded: “Covid-19 should teach us. We must use our own seeds. If we do that, we will reach better levels in the world rankings in terms of seed production and a favourable picture emerges in the balance of foreign trade. Now we export seeds to 91 countries. Turkey exports 40 percent of the locally produced seedlings anymore.”

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