According to Turkey’s agriculture and forestry minister, his nation has not seen any shortage in agricultural product supply during the pandemic, thanks to the correct measures taken in advance.
“By means of precautionary measures we have not experienced any disruption in food supply security,” Bekir Pakdemirli was quoted as saying during a video conference meeting on May 25.
The ministry took measures to ensure food security in February, nearly a month before the coronavirus pandemic reached Turkey, he added. The measures were tightened in mid-March, when first coronavirus cases and deaths occurred in the country, said Pakdemirli.
“Primarily, we founded a science board within the ministry. We started to watch closely the harvest, yield, tariff, import and export issues regarding nearly 50 products through the newly founded product desks,” he said.
The ministry also opened hotlines to response to questions from farmers and consumers, according to the minister’s remarks. Farmers were given mobility permissions during weekend and holiday lockdown restrictions in a bid to sustain agricultural production.
“Thanks to the fast and effective measures we have taken as a ministry, we have not experienced any problems in food production and supply during the epidemic and during the month of Ramadan,” Pakdemirli said. “In this process, we tried to protect both our producers and our consumers.
Exports to the Far East stepped up
Turkey has also stepped up diplomatic contacts with Far East countries to open export channels for agricultural products, the Turkish trade minister has said. “As a result of our recent intense works, we are knocking on China’s door for milk and dairy product exports, and we have been allowed to export Turkish apples to Thailand,” Ruhsar Pekcan said on May 25.
“Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, which affects all the world, we have speeded up efforts to increase market diversity,” she said.
Turkey applied to the Thai authorities for potato, cherry, grape, pear, strawberry and mandarin exports, and to Japanese authorities for strawberry, orange and mandarin exports, according to Pekcan’s remarks. Turkish fresh fruit and vegetable exporters also eye South Korean, Vietnamese, Australian and Filipino markets.