Turkey on Wednesday set up a digital ecosystem for the agriculture sector to establish a direct link between the cultivator and the consumer.

Launching the Digital Agriculture Market, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry said that it will enable stakeholders dealing with agricultural supply and demand to meet in the digital marketplace and ensure that the farmers will earn more income.

It will also help the consumer to access cheaper agricultural products.

Addressing an online press conference, Agriculture and Forestry Minister Bekir Pakdemirli described the project as a milestone in the way of planned agriculture.

Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak, Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan, and the President of the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) Rifat Hisarcıklıoglu also attended the press conference.

“This project is a milestone in planned agriculture, aiming to cover 10% of Turkey’s fruit and vegetable production at the first stage,” Pakdemirli said.

He said the project will not only bring the supply and demand in one place, but it will also help in planned cultivation.

“Thanks to this system, where the entire chain from seed to fork can be tracked and sustainable production is provided, small farmers will get the same good prices in competitive conditions as large farmers,” he said.

The system will also ensure zero wastage in the agricultural production chain. The minister recalled that one of every three agricultural products produced in the world goes into the waste.

The first phase of the project will involve vegetables, fruits, legumes, besides agriculture inputs like livestock, fertilizers, medicine, and seeds, said the minister.

COVID-19 raises fears about food security

He said that the COVID-19 pandemic has raised fears about food security and has highlighted the importance of agriculture.

”By managing the pandemic era well, we need to prepare the Turkish agriculture sector for the post-coronavirus period,” the minister said.

The minister explained that the project will be enhanced to cover the entire agriculture sector to include cooperatives to unions, farmers, producers, fertilizers, pesticides, financing sectors, and the insurance sector.

He said that Turkey’s strategic geographical position allows the country to reach 40% of the world population. The minister added that this will allow building contact with a $1.9 trillion agricultural economy.

“Turkey is among the few countries in the world in terms of vegetable and animal production. In the agriculture production it is ranked first in Europe and 10th in the world,” the minister said.

He emphasized that Turkey should continue to hold this position by further developing strategies to increase competitiveness even more.

Trade Minister Pekcan said her ministry will try to use this platform effectively with all stakeholders.

Finance Minister Albayrak said the digital agriculture market is valuable in setting up a healthy food chain with limitless opportunities to the producers. 

“Today, the debate on domestic production and self-sufficiency in the world has reignited,” said TOBB’s president Hisarciklioglu.

He added concepts such as efficiency in agriculture, domestic production, and food safety has gained more importance.

“Digital agriculture market will increase the efficiency of Turkey’s agricultural ecosystem, balancing the supply and demand in the market,” he said. He also added that this digital market will also put stop on seasonal price fluctuations of agricultural products.

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