Agriculture attracts record foreign capital

Agriculture attracts record foreign capital

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Agriculture attracts record foreign capital

International organizations foresee inflation in food prices until 2021, Eker says, adding that Turkey will support for small sized enterprises to fight back. DHA photo

The foreign direct investments (FDI) in Turkey’s agriculture and food sectors have been vacuuming international companies over the last decade, according to impressive figures provided by Agriculture Minister Mehdi Eker.

“The FDI in the food and agriculture sector was $14 million in 2002 and it reached $2.1 billion in the first 10 months in 2012,” Eker said during a breakfast in Ankara, where he hosted a group of journalists. “The investments in the agriculture sector are on the rise,” he said, adding it was “both domestic investments and foreign investments.”

Agriculture is still one of the engine powers of the Turkish economy as one third of the working population is employed in the sector. Eker said this figure stood at a mere 4 percent in European Union member nations on the average.

The minister said a decrease in the agricultural employment should be considered as normal.

Agriculture generates $62 billion annualy

Some 6.2 million people work in Turkish agricultural fields of 24 million hectares. The sector generated $62 billion of gross domestic products last year. The national income was $774 billion the same year.
International food organizations are foreseeing inflation in food prices until 2021, Eker said, telling that Turkey had some specific global suggestions to fight back. Support for small and medium sized enterprises is a leading one.

The minister also projected that energy prices and meat consumption would hike and fish growing would replace fish hunting in the given period.

Turkey’s net trade surplus in agriculture is $3.5 billion on an annual basis.

When it comes to imports in the sector, Eker said some raw materials, which are also used in other industries, were also accounted as agricultural purchases. These goods are mainly rubber, textiles fabric, and cellulose, the minister said, that the volume of such imports stand somewhere between $6.5 billion and $7 billion.

Turkey’s agriculture sector steadily grew for 14 quarters in a row and the figures had been positive since 2003, with an exception in 2007, a year of drought.

The government has provided 7.4 billion liras in grants for farmers so far this year, the minister noted. The figure will rise to 9 billion liras in 2013, he said.

He also said 2,500 new employees would be added to the ministry’s ranks as of 2013. The new cadre will basically be employed in rural areas.

Fake product makers announced

Commenting on a new procedure of publicly announcing food firms that sell fake products, the minister said 50 such companies have been declared.

Developing countries have been consuming grains rather than rice, which plays a role in building agricultural policies, he also said.

The current output of global agriculture sector was enough to meet the demand by all the people living on earth, he said. “The problem lies in trade policies, and lack of justice, sympathy and love.”

The hunger problem was also posing security risks, he said. “If 1 billion people out of 7 billion are hungry, the world cannot be a safe place for the remaining 6 billion.”