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VIOREL GUTU: PANDEMIC SHOWS THE IMPORTANCE OF AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTION

Viorel Gutu, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) sub-regional coordinator for Central Asia and representative in Turkey, said Turkey is an extremely rich country in terms of the diversity of agricultural products.

The country is also among the world’s largest producers and exporters of many products such as fruit varieties and nuts and it is the seventh-largest country in the world with agricultural production, he recalled.

Some 50% of Turkey’s lands are agricultural fields, and 77% of these lands are used for cereals and pulses, he noted.

“But we have seen decreases of agricultural land in Turkey, although the yield in agricultural production is increasing in certain product groups, large losses of agricultural land may cause future food security problems,” he underlined.

The Turkish government takes measures to prevent misusage of agricultural lands for sustainable development, he added.

The COVID-19 pandemic, which has affected the whole world, showed the importance of the continuity of agricultural production and supply chains, he noted.

In the pandemic, Turkey, thanks to its agricultural production advantages, had timely and effective political interference and ensure the continuity of production and supply chain and prevent accidents and food supply problems, he stressed.

Prolonged droughts can lead to famines

Touching on water and food security, he said the limitation of water resources and the change of precipitation regimes negatively affect food and agriculture, and raising restrictions and problems related to water threaten food security and nutrition.

“Therefore, there is a need for urgent measures for the sustainable and equitable use of water,” he underlined.

Long-term famines due to climate change is a problem that requires much more comprehensive, coordinated, multi-stakeholder, and long-term actions, he said.

“We will face drought as an inevitable consequence of climate change, the Mediterranean basin, including Turkey, is also one of the vulnerable zones,” he underlined.

The temperature increase in the basin will cause unexpected storms, severe weather events, heat waves, forest fires, seasons without precipitation, and resultant losses in biodiversity and agricultural yield, he noted.

Turkey uses more than 70% of their water resources for agriculture, the prolonged droughts will cause a decrease in agricultural production, he said.

Severe and prolonged droughts may lead to famines and some serious threats to food security, he added.

He also said Turkey’s Environment and Urbanization Ministry prepared an action plan against climate change.

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About İsmail Uğural

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