Turkey on Wednesday set up a digital ecosystem for its agriculture sector to establish a direct link between the cultivator and the consumer.
Launching the Digital Agriculture Market, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry said that it will enable stakeholders dealing with agricultural supply and demand to meet in the digital marketplace and ensure that farmers will earn more income. It will also help consumers access cheaper agricultural products.
Addressing an online news conference, Agriculture and Forestry Minister Bekir Pakdemirli described the project as a milestone in the way of planned agriculture.
Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak, Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan and the President of the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu also attended the news conference.
"This project is a milestone in planned agriculture, aiming to cover 10% of Turkey's fruit and vegetable production in its first stage," Pakdemirli said. He said the project will not only bring the supply and demand into one place, but it will also help in planned cultivation.
"Thanks to this system, where the entire chain from seed to fork can be tracked and sustainable production is provided, small farmers will get the same good prices in competitive conditions as large farmers," he said.
The system will also ensure zero waste in the agricultural production chain. The minister recalled that one of every three agricultural products produced in the world goes to waste.
The first phase of the project will involve vegetables, fruits and legumes besides agriculture inputs like livestock, fertilizers, medicine and seeds, said the minister.
COVID-19 raises fears about food security
He said that the COVID-19 pandemic has raised fears about food security and has highlighted the importance of agriculture.
''By managing the pandemic era well, we need to prepare the Turkish agriculture sector for the post-coronavirus period,'' the minister said.
The minister explained that the project will be enhanced to cover the entire agriculture sector to include cooperatives to unions, farmers, producers, fertilizers, pesticides, financing sectors and the insurance sector.
He said that Turkey's strategic geographical position allows the country to reach 40% of the world population. The minister added that this will allow building contact with a $1.9 trillion agricultural economy.
"Turkey is among the few countries in the world in terms of vegetable and animal production. In agriculture production, it is ranked first in Europe and 10th in the world," the minister said.
He emphasized that Turkey should continue to hold this position by further developing strategies to increase competitiveness.
Trade Minister Pekcan said her ministry will try to use this platform with all stakeholders.
Finance Minister Albayrak said the digital agriculture market is valuable in setting up a healthy food chain with limitless opportunities for producers.
"Today, the debate on domestic production and self-sufficiency in the world has reignited," said TOBB's president Hisarcıklıoğlu.
He added that concepts such as efficiency in agriculture, domestic production and food safety have gained more importance.
"The digital agriculture market will increase the efficiency of Turkey's agricultural ecosystem, balancing the supply and demand in the market," he said. He also added that this digital market will also halt the seasonal price fluctuations of agricultural products.
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