Published On: Fri, Apr 21st, 2017

Issues in Turkey-Africa 1st agriculture ministers meeting and agribusiness forum

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Agriculture and rural development policies have huge potential to serve as sources of livelihood opportunities for women and rural youth, yet in many countries most of the food is produced by aging smallholder farmers. Re-engaging young people (both female and male) in agriculture through youth skills development and training programs and facilitating their access to productive assets will both raise and stabilize incomes. Furthermore, improved labor productivity for youth and women has been found to have strong impacts on inter-generational poverty, such that investment in human resource development in rural areas could lead to longer-term improvements in quality of living in developing countries. Besides support to efforts to increase productivity and production at farm level, expanding the food supply will require improvements in handling, processing, transportation, and consumer habits to reduce food losses and waste (FLW). As the agricultural production requires intensive water and energy consumption, all wasted foodstuffs simply signify waste of water and energy. Globally, about one third of the volume of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted each year. Rough estimates suggest that the cost for producing food that is wasted amounts to US$750 billion each year. This amounts to 1.3 billion tons, enough to feed 2 billion people. Food loss and waste are heavily dependent upon the specific conditions in a given country. In LIDCs, food losses result from wide-ranging technical constrains in harvesting techniques, storage, transportation, processing, cooling facilities infrastructure, packaging and marketing systems. In the subsistence farming systems of poor smallholder and family farmers, quantitative losses result directly in less food being available, and therefore contribute to food insecurity. The causes of food waste in medium- and high-income countries relate mainly to consumer behavior and to retail and distribution practices and standards. FLW is a significant global concern in developed, developing and LIDCs. Through investing in low cost technologies and other agricultural machineries, post-harvest losses which is common in developing and LIDCs can be reduced significantly. Turkey has the necessary expertise and experience in this regard. In developing countries, smallholder and family farmers (with women farmers playing an important role) produce the bulk of consumed food—an estimated 60 to 80 percent. Increasing agricultural productivity in developing countries and LIDCs with large and smallscale agricultural sectors is crucial; farmers become more competitive and their income increases. Rural household members diversify their income sources by engaging in betterpaying off-farm work, contributing towards food security, poverty reduction and growth. Increased productivity of smallholders and advances in rural development and economic growth are closely linked.
Although innovations can drive productivity growth, their full potential is not being realized by many of the world’s farmers due to suboptimal use of inputs and insufficient adoption of many already existing technologies. In many LIDCs—particularly within Africa, south of the Sahara—farmers of primary food crops achieve yields that are only 10-30 percent of potential yields. Closing the gap between realized and potential yields would promote productivity growth and bring about a substantial increase in production and incomes. The role of effective advisory and extension services is important in this respect. Africa faces a large and growing unemployment challenge; half of Africa’s population of 1.1 billion people is under the age of 25 years, with this population expected to double to 2.4 billion people by 2050. While youth currently constitute approximately 40% of the working age population, over 60% of them are unemployed. There is a need for the development of new strategies and policies targeting the reduction of unemployment rates in Africa Continent. Climate change is one of the most important challenges facing the world and especially Africa in terms of food security. Since the region is suffering from desertification, aridity and drought; sustainable land/water use and management practices are important in mitigating the effects of and adapting to climate change. Development of modern techniques in the usage and reuse of water resources, conservation of biodiversity, the development and cultivation of plant species that are resistant to drought and salinity and needing less water, disaster alert policies and systems and information flow must be developed in this particular field and Turkey can provide technical support in this respect. Women and youth should be given priority when making agricultural policies for future generations. In the developing world, women make up 43 percent of the agricultural labor— and, in some countries, they make up 80 percent of agricultural labor. Women face many obstacles to productive farming. Compared to men, they have limited access to credit and lack control of family funds. In fact, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) found that only 10 percent of credit in the south of the Sahara is available to women. Female farmers also face scant educational opportunities and gender discrimination at markets. Without available funds and proper training, women are unable to make improvements to their farming methods and continue to suffer from low food yields. In many developing countries, women are the backbone of the economy. Yet women farmers do not have equal access to resources and this significantly limits their potential in enhancing productivity. According to FAO, providing female farmers access to the same resources as men could reduce the number of hungry people in the world by 100-150 million people. And when women earn more and have better rights, they tend to invest more in the health and nutrition of their families. 3 TURKEY-AFRICA 1ST AGRICULTURE MINISTERS MEETING AND AGRIBUSINESS FORUM 27-28 April 2017, Antalya Today’s youth are tomorrow’s farmers, and maintaining interest in farming as a profession is vital to future food security. Youth make up roughly one fifth of the population of developing and emerging economies and face global unemployment levels from 10 to 28 percent. The number of young people of working age is increasing while this same group typically rejects careers in the agriculture. Governments, particularly in developing countries, but also elsewhere need to invest in policies and practices that provide access to land, credit and banking services, education and knowledge, and technical skills for young farmers. It is the responsibility of Governments to ensure that young people have access to markets, goods and service, employment opportunities so that they want to stay in agriculture sector. There are some policies in place in Turkey regarding the women and young farmers to stay in farming sector. These policies include provision of low interest credits for young and women farmers investing in agriculture and certain amounts of grants for young farmers for their investment in predetermined areas of agriculture sector. Within this frame farmers between the ages of 18 and 40 are eligible to receive this grant. 2. Possible contribution of Turkey Turkey has the expertise in the areas of food security and rural development. It can contribute to the efforts made by African Countries in the field of agriculture and rural development. Turkish agricultural policies may serve as a model for African Countries including irrigation systems, agricultural mechanization, land consolidation, combating desertification and climate change etc. Turkish National Tenth Development Plan (2014-18) sets the strategic objective to provide the population with a sufficient and balanced nutritional diet. It aims for an agricultural production growth at 3.1% per year by emphasizing advanced technologies, resolving infrastructure problems, promoting efficient organization and high productivity, and developing a production structure that will increase the international competitiveness of Turkish agricultural products. Another key agricultural policy document, the 2013-17 Strategic Plan of the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock sets five strategic objectives: i) agricultural production and supply security; ii) food safety; iii) phytosanitary and animal health and welfare; iv) agricultural infrastructure and rural development; and v) institutional capacity building. For each of these areas, several strategic objectives are formulated, together with performance indicators and financing targets.
The priorities are strongly shifted towards stimulating agricultural production through subsidies, as evidenced by the dominance of the “agricultural production and supply security” component which includes price, input, and credit subsidies. Infrastructure development is the second most important direction of the Strategic Plan, although it is given far less resources, while other components of the Plan are quite small in terms of allocated spending. In addition to the activities of the 2013-17 Strategic Plan, the agricultural sector benefits from rural and regional development programs which are broader in scope than just agriculture. These include the Rural Development Action Plan 2015-18 which underpins the EU-co-financed Instrument for Pre- Accession Assistance for Rural Development 2014-20 (IPARD-II). Large regional development projects, such as the South Eastern Anatolia Project (GAP), Eastern Black Sea Project (DOKAP), Eastern Anatolia Project (DAP), and Konya Plains Project (KOP), support investments in consolidating agricultural land, production related infrastructure, and investments in agricultural holdings, and their modernization and diversification. These programs also fund various activities related to rural development more broadly. Rural and regional development frameworks vary in geographic scope: some are implemented in several provinces and financed through national-level. Rural Development Investments Support Program (RDISP) between 2006 and 2015 had two components: machinery and equipment grants for farmers and grants for ‘economic investments’, which were directed mainly for development of processing. Within the economic investments’ component, up to TRY 800 000 (USD 296 000) for legal entities and TRY 100 000 (USD 37 000) for natural persons were granted for the 50% of the investments. Important support to agricultural investment comes through the large rural and regional development projects. Thus, approximately 75% of the funds allocated in the national rural development program IPARD-I (2007-13) went for the investments in milk and milk farms, as well as agricultural processing. The new IPARD-II (2014-20) maintains virtually the same funding priorities. The South Eastern Anatolia Project (GAP) provided grants for animal farming – as of 2014, TRY 87 million (USD 32 million) have been allocated for projects which included the purchase of livestock and equipment and construction of production facilities. Beyond that, the GAP disbursed TRY 219.3 million (USD 81 million) as credit to 93 cooperatives for the purchase of agricultural animals and establishment

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