Turkey plans to lease farmlands in foreign countries
Nuray Babacan- Ankara
Turkey plans to lease farmlands in several counties in Africa and Latin America to grow crops to boost agricultural production amid growing global concerns over food security.
Authorities have been exploring such opportunities in 10 nations, besides Venezuela and Sudan.
Agriculture and Forestry Minister Vahit Kirişçi recently discussed this plan with a group of lawmakers.
Local production meets domestic consumption but still leasing farmlands in foreign countries is necessary if the aim is to export agricultural products, Kirişçi told MPs.
“There are such large lands in Southern Africa and we can grow products there. We are also considering some Latin American countries,” he said.
The minister explained that Turkish farmers are moving to large cities, and because of this population move, lands in rural areas are left idle.
The General Directorate of Agricultural Enterprises (TIGEM) will coordinate the project for leasing farmlands in other nations.
Turkey previously leased 850,000 hectares of land in Sudan, but this venture did not yield the desired results. This time around, authorities will focus on products that cannot be grown in Turkey due to climate conditions or are produced in insufficient amounts.
Officials from the Agriculture Ministry are holding talks to lease lands in 10 nations, including African and Latin American counties, as well as Ukraine.
The project will prioritize the production of corn, sunflower, cotton and sugarcane. But, pineapple, mango and canola will also be produced, both for domestic consumption and export purposes.
According to plans under consideration, Turkish private companies will use those leased lands for agricultural production. The issue of leasing land was on the agenda during Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro’s recent visit to Turkey. Maduro said Turkey could lease 400,000 hectares of land in Venezuela to grow wheat.
The output could be split 70 to 30 between Turkey and Venezuela, he offered.