Bakan Yumaklı: We have a production of 1.3 million tons, and we export seeds to 117 countries

Agriculture and Forestry Minister İbrahim Yumaklı stated that 97 out of every 100 units of seed used are produced in Turkish lands, saying, 'We have a production of 1.3 million tons. Turkey is now recognized as a seed-producing country worldwide. We export seeds to 117 countries.

Minister of Agriculture and Forestry İbrahim Yumaklı addressed questions about agriculture and recent developments.

“Exporting seeds to 117 countries”

Putting an end to the debate over seeds reignited by the cessation of all trade with Israel, Yumaklı stated, "We are in no way affected in terms of agricultural products. There's a metaphor regarding seeds. We had quite a bit of export of fresh vegetables and fruits to Israel as well. If we don't export to them, we sell elsewhere. Or we adjust things a bit domestically. We have ongoing issues, especially misconceptions that we update every month. Seeds are one of them. No country in the world is 100% self-sufficient. But 97 out of every 100 units of seed we use are produced on Turkish soil. We have a production of 1.3 million tons. Turkey is now recognized as a seed-producing country worldwide. We export seeds to 117 countries. Yet, those people are still talking. Just like with straw and seeds. People's fears are being triggered. Weren't there seeds coming from Israel? There were. But there were also seeds coming from all over the world. We were selling to them. There is a vast difference between what we got from Israel and what we sold to them."

“TİGEM lands are a matter of national security”

Yumaklı emphasized that the lands of the General Directorate of Agricultural Enterprises (TİGEM) are crucial for Turkey's national security regarding agriculture. Highlighting TİGEM as the starting point if Turkey were to face any problems related to seeds, Yumaklı stated, "Everyone sees those lands as empty. They are not empty. TİGEM lands will serve as insurance for any agricultural issues Turkey may face. There is incredible interest in these lands. People say, 'Let's do this, let's do that.' This issue is extremely important. We say, 'There are so many empty places, why don't you contact TİGEM?'"

"Positive discrimination for young and female farmers"

Yumaklı explained the changes they made to the support system already in place for both animal and plant production, particularly highlighting the privileges granted to young and female farmers. Redirecting Ziraat Bank loans, subsidized financing practices, and rural development support towards a single goal, Yumaklı said, "Therefore, for the first time, there is positive discrimination towards the youth and women. But this is not just a minor positive discrimination. Let me put it this way: They will receive 4 times more support compared to others. So if there are 50 animals, they will receive additional support when they increase it to 100. If they are young, we will provide additional support. If they are women, we will provide further support. Thus, we are moving towards creating an ecosystem by combining their efforts with the support we provide. I see it as very successful."

"74 thousand new applications for the Farmer Registry System"

Yumaklı provided information on the operation of the Farmer Registry System (ÇKS), saying, "When registering for ÇKS, if you give a commitment, for example, if you cannot reach an agreement with your three siblings but you are cultivating the land, tell me about it, when it comes to the income from there, tell me that you are the one responsible, and register in the system. After we initiated this practice, an additional 74 thousand farmers applied. Nearly 6.5 million acres of agricultural land have been registered. We couldn't do this with Treasury lands. Because we are still in negotiations with the Treasury. We want to include them as well. Hopefully, it will be resolved there."

"We protect both sides in contract farming"
Responding to criticisms of contract farming, Yumaklı said, "We did not invent contract farming; it has always existed. If you pay attention, we say we want to expand it. While analyzing the issue of 'why isn't it working?' we came across something significant. Both sides do not trust each other. The producer says, 'this guy will cheat me. He won't buy my product when I need to sell and leave my goods in my hands.' The buyer who needs raw material says, 'I'll buy it when I need it for more money.' Therefore, we have created model contracts. These contracts protect the rights of both sides. We sat down with the entire sector and determined the model contracts. And in case of any dispute, instead of lawsuits that take 3-5 years to resolve, we introduced a mediation mechanism. The mediator here is the state. Therefore, there are elements to protect both sides. Especially in milk, eggs, and poultry production, everything is disciplined."

"No shortage of sacrificial animals, in fact, there's surplus"

Yumaklı addressed a question about Turkey's sacrificial animal inventory, saying, "We won't have any problems; in fact, there's a surplus. Nearly 900 thousand large animals and around 3 million small animals are sacrificed every year. Last year, about 2.8 million small animals were sacrificed. We already have more sacrificial animals this year. Preparations are not just based on the number of sacrificial animals. We also announced a livestock roadmap. The biggest headline is animal diseases. We aim to prevent the spread of animal diseases caused by animal movements in Turkey. Sacrificial animals are included in this. Because during Eid al-Adha, there is a lot of animal movement, and usually, some diseases increase. We took all precautions to prevent them. Including vaccinations, and so on. We are fully prepared. We have an application called 'Agriculture in My Pocket.' I would be very pleased if you download it. When you go to the market to buy a sacrificial animal, you can look at the animal's tag and see all the information on that application."

"We will announce product purchase prices on time"

Yumaklı assured that they would announce product purchase prices on time, saying, "Let me say this very clearly. Whenever we announced last year, we won't exceed those times. Why do we take these into account? Because we monitor them. We have only started from Adana for now. Wheat harvesting is coming from Adana, Hatay, this way. My commitment is that the farmers won't incur losses. We will announce early, we won't announce late. There can't be such a concept. Everything has its time. We will announce it when the time comes."

"Expecting a good harvest due to abundant rainfall this year"

Yumaklı, referring to Turkey's recent abundant rainfall and expecting a good harvest, said, "Initially, we were worried, to be honest. Especially, the rainfall in Central Anatolia didn't go as expected since the beginning of May. But now, thank God, from November to May 14th, when we look at it, there is a 4% increase in rainfall above seasonal norms. Therefore, there won't be any problem with the yield."

"The grant seed program will continue"

Yumaklı shared that they continue the support for sunflower, which they included in strategic products. Mentioning a new project they initiated to activate the use of agricultural lands, Yumaklı said, “Especially in every part of Turkey suitable for sunflower production, our Provincial Directorates of Agriculture provided up to 75% grant and seeds. We will continue our support to increase our competence in this regard.”