Thursday, August 5, 2021
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Turkish ‘food supplies safe’ despite drought

Turkey has taken all the measures it needs to com-bat climate change, its government has claimed.

Agriculture and forestry minister Bekir Pakdemirli said des-pite a marked reduction in rainfall over the past decade, there would be no problem in the future.

His comments came as experts warned of the severe affects the drought was having on Lake Van, a water source that supplies much of agriculture and animal husbandry in the region.

Mr Pakdemirli, speaking during a farmer’s summit organised by the Turkish media outlet Turkuvaz, also praised his government’s actions in the face of the Covid pandemic.

Farmers have been excluded from lockdowns and travel bans during the crisis in ofter to protect agricultural production, he said.

Noting that the volume of rain had decreased 25 per cent in 2021 compared with the previous year, he said there had only been a slight effect on the agricultural sector but the problem is manageable

“With Turkey’s production, the Turkish Grain Board, the stocks of the market and the foreign trade measures we have taken, Turkey will not experience any shortcomings in food supply,” he said.

Mr Pakdemirli said the most important measure against the dry spells was investing in irrigation systems.

Meanwhile, the drought caused by climate change has severely affected the basin of Lake Van.

“Heat rose, while precipitation decreased in the last decade,” Faruk Alaeddinoğlu, a professor from Van Yüzüncü Yıl University, told state-run Anadolu Agency.

High temperatures caused vapor-isation and “the rate of vaporisation is four times higher than the precipitation in the region,” he said.

“Therefore, the sea levels in the lakes have been falling, leading

to a serious loss of water in the

basin.”

Murat Tunçtürk, the dean of the agricultural faculty of the same university, said special attention should be paid to the consumption of water.

“According to this year’s climate data, the precipitation received by the Lake Van basin dropped by 12 per cent when compared to the previous year and by 33 per cent when compared to the average of many years,” he said.

“The plants of the wheat and barley fields are not growing taller or do not have enough grains in them.

“What we, as individuals, have to do is save on water.”

The loss of crops will have a negative impact on the economy, said Mr Tunçtürk.

“Costs will increase in animal husbandry and agriculture. It will lead to an increase in food prices. Farmers should pick plants that are resistant towards water shortage,” he added.

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