Turkey is an agricultural and animal production hub in the region and even for countries beyond, with its high production capacity and food security standards, according to university agriculturalist Orhan Özçatalbaş.
The country has the largest agricultural revenue in Europe and is second on a global scale, the professor at Akdeniz University’s Agricultural Policy and Extension Department told Anadolu Agency.
He said the pandemic increased the importance of food and supply security and the world started to discuss agricultural production’s efficiency and capacity.
Food security and safety topics will remain on the global agenda because the world’s population is expected to reach 10 billion by 2050 and food production should increase by 70% to meet needs, he said. “Turkey sees food safety and security field as the most strategical area, and it is a leading country in supplying security globally.”
Özçatalbaş said Turkey implements good agricultural practices to ensure safety in exports and domestic consumption.
Turkey has an advantage with its high agricultural production capacity, domestic labor force, high equity capital ratio, active farmer families, new technologies, high experience, qualified human power and high logistic standards, he said.
It increased its raw vegetable and fruit exports 24% even during the pandemic in the first quarter.
“Turkey is a self-sufficient country in terms of cereal products, vegetables, fruits and animal products, and it is a net agricultural-exporter with around $20 billion exports annually,” he noted. And it can increase its agricultural capacity by using technology correctly.
FAO should eliminate hunger, poverty
Regarding the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) during the pandemic, he said it should raise efforts to reach its targets, including zero hunger.
As an organization with a large capacity and human resources, FAO will put the most effective and functional methods into action as soon as possible to eliminate hunger and poverty, he noted.
Its first concrete work should be to eliminate nonhuman consumption habits, he stressed.
“Because there is no guarantee that COVID or similar virus derivatives will not reappear, in Wuhan region or other similar regions that do not have decent living standards,” he said.
The UN should use its organizations – FAO and the World Health Organization (WHO) – more effectively to fulfill its responsibilities to ensure rights of health and life worldwide.
International sanction and intervention are possible against a global epidemic threatening humanity to eliminate or solve the source of the problem.
The WHO and FAO should make efforts to turn back to the old normal instead of determining conditions of the new normal, he said.