In an effort to curb concerns over food security, Turkey plans to lease farmlands in various countries to boost agricultural production, it emerged this week.
For years now, Turkish authorities have been exploring such opportunities in ten nations in Africa and Latin America, including Venezuela and Sudan.
According to Turkish daily Hurriyet, the Turkish Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Vahit Kirişci told lawmakers that, given domestic consumption and its impact on local production, leasing farmlands in foreign countries might still be necessary if the aim is to export agricultural products.
Turkish farmers in recent years have been observed relocating to urban areas, and because of this population move, land in rural areas is left idle. Therefore, Kirişci pointed to the vast available lands in both Southern Africa and Latin America which could be utilized by Turkey.
Turkey leased farmland in Sudan
Previously, the Republic of Turkey 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 products that are available within Turkey only in insufficient amounts.
Turkey’s new arrangements for leasing land will be coordinated by the General Directorate of Agricultural Enterprises (TIGEM), and the project will prioritize the production of corn, sunflower, cotton, and sugarcane. Production of pineapples, mangos, and canola will also be geared towards domestic consumption and export purposes.
During his recent visit to Turkey on June 8th, President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela made it clear that Turkey could lease 400,000 hectares of land in Venezuela to grow wheat. He proposed that the proceeds be split 70 to 30 between Turkey and Venezuela.
The General Directorate of Agricultural Enterprises (TIGEM) will consider Turkish private companies a priority in ensuring that those lands are properly utilized for agricultural purposes.