Turning farmlands into concrete is betrayal: Erdoğan
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has vowed to prevent urban projects on farmlands, slamming speculators in the sector.
“If we turn these farmlands into concrete, it will be betrayal to the homeland and to the nation,” he said at a meeting with farmers across the nation at the Presidential Complex in capital Ankara on March 6.
Today, Turkey is placed on the top among Europe regarding agricultural output, the president said.
“In the past 10 years, we completed the land consolidation of 6.1-million-hectare land and registration process of 3.6-million-hectare is still ongoing,” he said.
Some 258 cultivated and animal breeding areas have been declared as protected areas, he said, adding that 42 more will be added to the list.
“We will increase this number to 300.”
The government will not allow plans of “speculators” in the agricultural sector, which is disturbing the efforts of producers, Eroğan said.
“Speculators do not intent to protect the rights of producers. While some of them act with avarice, others pursue more obscure goals,” he added.
“We see the speculators in the agricultural sector as a national security problem, just terrorists based on our borders, and we treat them accordingly,” he said.
“We will continue to hinder these kinds of plans, we will not let anyone to set their eyes on our producer’s labor and our consumer’s food.”
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has been making abounding efforts to support the farmers, according to Erdoğan.
He also underlined that around 48,000 farmers have received financial support from the government in three years, amounting to 1.5 billion Turkish Liras (roughly $ 2.8 billion).
“In order to keep the youth’s interest to agriculture alive, we have been giving grant aids of 30,000 Liras [around $5,560],” he said.
The president also commented on the loans farmers borrowed via state-run Ziraat Bank and state-owned Agricultural Credit Cooperatives.
“My farmers are honest, their repayment rate is around 98-99 percent,” he said.
The increase of herbal production to 110 million tons is the proof showing the return of government’s financial support, Erdoğan said.
“By the end of March, Turkey will have provided a financial support of 3.7 billion liras ($685 million) to farmers and producers in cultivation and animal breeding sectors,” Erdoğan said.
Nevertheless, Turkey needs to reduce input costs and encourage production to compensate the excessive prices of red meat, he added.