Turkey should aspire to becoming a truly “smart-agriculture” country, acc-
ording to one of its leading journalists.
Ismail Ugural, a member of the executive committee of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) and head of the Turkish Guild of Agricultural Journalists, said farmers can use technology to raise their effectiveness.
This, in turn, would raise incomes and ensure food security for the future, he said.
“Only two countries in the world could become smart-agriculture countries due to its policies and planning: the Netherlands and New Zealand,” he said.
“Why shouldn’t Turkey become the third country? We should definitely discuss this.”
Turkey is already among the top 10 agricultural countries in the world, in terms of income from farming, despite its shortcomings in smart technology.
Its most valuable agricultural product in the past was wheat but is now milk, said Mr Ugural.
“I do not underestimate our very strategic and important products such as wheat – the whole world gives importance to added-value products,” he said.
Mr Ugural went on: “The Turkish food industry, which raises the country’s export performance, ensures the food security with its sufficient raw material advantage and rapid modernization.
“The main advantage of Turkey though is its major agricultural production power.”
Turkey is self-sufficient in food, though a lot of what it produces comes off farms that are not officially recorded, raising ser-ious questions over quality standards.
It exports to close on 200 countries with its list of agricultural products amounting to more than 1,800, and raising revenues of $18 million (£14 million) – though Mr Ugural says that is still well below its potential sales.
He wants the Turkish gov-ernment to give more importance to agriculture and food exports, as well as focusing on research and development to encourage a technology-based approach.
“Turkish agriculture is currently dependent on millions of small farmer families, so the strategy should be to develop and implement macro agricultural policies rather than supporting small farmers individually,” he added.