Turkey is not expected to experience any food shortages in the short or mid-term due to the effects of the coronavirus outbreak, the U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) representative in Ankara said.
"We are welcoming measures taken by the government to help farmers and food-related business operators by postponing tax payments, advancing agricultural support payments (and) providing interest-free loans for investment and operation which are provided for small farmers and processors," Viorel Gutu told Anadolu Agency, hailing state campaigns to cushion the pandemic's economic impact.
Gutu added that he also backed the Agriculture and Forestry Ministry's "Evde Hayat, Sofrada Balik – Life at Home, Fish on the Plate" promotional campaign.
The campaign, promoting the retail sale of fish at wholesale prices, aims to boost the household consumption of fish, which would be a welcome development both from a nutritional and economical perspective, providing support for producers.
He also praised other government steps to secure the agricultural production process and food supply such as the project of allocating idle agricultural lands under the public domain to farmers to grow certain types of products, such as cereals and oilseeds.
"The COVID-19 outbreak will pass sooner or later, and there is a need to ensure that agricultural and food production is continued," he stressed.
Also speaking to Anadolu Agency, Mahmut Duruk, who sits on the board of Turkey's Federation of Food and Drink Industry Associations (TGDF), downplayed any risk of shortages, saying Turkey had enough food and beverage stockpiled to last at least six months.
"Production and distribution activities for food and beverages are to continue at full speed on weekdays," Duruk reassuringly stressed.
In March, the agricultural and forestry ministry announced new measures to ensure the safety and well-being of seasonal workers against COVID-19, including additional hygiene and personal protection products. The ministry said it had taken all necessary steps to make sure production at farms would not halt during the pandemic.
Agriculture Minister Bekir Pakdemirli announced in early April that his ministry would subsidize 75% of seeds for farmers in 21 agricultural provinces across the country in an effort to prevent disruptions or delays during spring planting season in light of the outbreak.
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