Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Bekir Pakdemirli stated that as of today, the support given in the field of seeds has exceeded ₺4.5 billion.
Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Bekir Pakdemirli, in his speech at the “Future Agriculture Workshop on the Axis of Climate Change” held by the Seed Growers Sub-Association at a hotel in the Belek Tourism Center in the Serik district of Antalya, said that global warming and climate change are the biggest threats to humanity.
Pakdemirli said that while population growth, industrialization, urbanization and the pressure on natural resources have increased gradually in the last century, the natural ecosystem has started to deteriorate with activities such as intensive use of fossil fuels, energy production, agriculture and transportation. He noted that these developments, whose focus is human, have changed the ecosystem deeply and irreversibly in many respects.
Stating that the world average temperature has increased by 1.1 degrees since the industrial revolution, Pakdemirli pointed out that with this temperature increase, there have been unprecedented disasters in history and serious changes in the water cycle.
Expressing that the drought, which was experienced every 10 years before, could be experienced in 5-6 years from now on, Pakdemirli said:
“As for agricultural productivity, a decrease of 10 to 25% is expected until 2050 with the effect of climate change. All these data show us that agriculture, food, water and forest are the areas that will be most affected by climate change. In order to meet the food needs of the world population in 2050, we have to produce 60% more than today and use 15% more water for this production. We have come to a point with the right seed growing practices and increasing the quality of the seed. These developments and future projections make it inevitable to create a sustainable production structure on the basis of green economy as well as self-sufficiency.”
Minister Pakdemirli emphasized that now more than an ordinary effort, much more than a breakthrough should be put forward.
Pointing out that Turkey is one of the countries that will experience the effects of climate change the most due to its location in the Mediterranean basin, Pakdemirli stated that as a ministry, they have put forward all their policies by taking these developments into account.
Underlining that they have adopted more environmentalist approaches, Pakdemirli continued his words as follows:
“In this process, in addition to the Paris Climate Agreement, we created our action plans and started our work within the scope of the European Union Green Agreement. In order to minimize the effects of climate change, we quickly put into use many support applications for our producers in case of need. With the support of our President, we started to pay ₺2.6 billion of support for our producers affected by drought. In addition, we determine the measures and projects we will take against climate change with the meetings and workshops we organize on a provincial and regional basis.
Expressing that they want to direct the works with a common mind and determine a common roadmap, Pakdemirli noted that seeds and seed growing are at the forefront of the fields that play a key role for agriculture and food security, especially for climate change.
Explaining that the seed is the story of life and the expression of sustainability, Pakdemirli said, “If the soil is the body of the earth, agriculture is the most beautiful green dress this body wears. This green dress is decorated with all color tones, from the red of the apple, the orange of the orange, the purple of the eggplant, the yellow of the quince. And the seed is the first button of this dress. If we button this button wrong, there is no point in buttoning the other buttons.”
Emphasizing that Anatolia, which is home to 12 thousand plant species, 4 thousand of which are unique to these lands, is almost a continent in terms of plant gene resources, Pakdemirli stated that the future of food security in these lands is also hidden in the seeds.
Pakdemirli, who said that those who do not have seeds to plant today cannot play a role in the future, expressed that the seed is the most valuable treasure of agriculture, which is light in weight and heavy in price.
“SUPPORT TO SEED EXCEED ₺4.5 BILLION”
Minister Pakdemirli stated that the seed plays a strategic role in the economy and the industry, and that the plans regarding the seeds should be made correctly and implemented quickly and effectively for the future of agriculture and food safety.
Stating that according to FAO data, around 800 million people are struggling with hunger on the one hand, and the population continues to increase rapidly on the other, Pakdemirli said:
“On the other hand, alarm bells are ringing due to reasons such as zoning, barrenness, climate change and loss of productivity in agricultural areas. In this context, nutrition and food security have started to become a more strategic area. The thing to do is clear. Considering these losses and population growth, the total amount of production should be increased proportionally. The most economical and natural way to increase production in the short term is to use quality seeds. Provided that all the variables affecting production remain constant, even using only quality seeds means a significant increase in production.”
Pakdemirli stated that as a ministry, they have crowned their 19-year investments with new projects in order to develop the seed sector, deliver the highest quality production material to the farmer and ensure safe food supply to the people.
Explaining that they started the certified seed support programs as the Ministry, Pakdemirli continued his words as follows:
“We have been supporting our farmers who have been using certified seeds since 2005 and certified seed producers since 2008. Our support in the field of seeds has exceeded ₺4.5 billion as of today. We made the highest increase in 2020 plant production support in seeds. In 2020, we increased the use of certified seeds by 88% in wheat and barley, 166% in triticale, oats and rye, 100% in paddy, 50% in dry beans and lentils, and 25% in potatoes, rapeseed and safflower. In addition to these increases for the production year of 2022, we made a 50% increase in barley, wheat, rye, triticale, oats and paddy. In addition, we provided an additional source of credit to the seed industry with the ‘Decision on the Grant of Low Interest Investment and Operating Loans for Agricultural Production’.”
CONTRIBUTION OF DOMESTIC AND NATIONAL SEED IN PRODUCTION
Minister Pakdemirli stated that thanks to the expert researchers in the research institute directorates of the ministry, they have also channeled 867 domestic and national knowledge, skills and experience into the field of seed production, which were developed entirely with public resources.
Informing that 202 varieties were registered in field crops in the last three years, 63 varieties in 2019, 81 varieties in 2020 and 58 varieties in 2021, Pakdemirli said, “50% of bread wheat, 55% of durum wheat, 60% of barley, 50% of rice, 90% of lentils and 60% of chickpea produced in our country are obtained from domestic and national seeds produced only by our ministry research institutes.”
Mentioning the ancestral seeds and gene banking issues, Pakdemirli said that 317,000 seeds and materials are preserved in 32 gene banks. Stating that 37 local varieties from different species were registered this year within the scope of the ancestor seed project, Pakdemirli said, “We have developed a total of 61 drought-resistant varieties, including 30 for bread wheat, 12 for durum wheat and 19 for barley, and we registered and presented them to our producers.”
Source: Sabah / Translated by Irem Yildiz