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August 05, 2008

Turkey launches African agricultural development program

Turkey minister has announced that it is launching a new agricultural development assistance program for African countries.

“The aim of the program launched today is to improve relations between Turkey and Africa, to provide African countries with modern agriculture and animal breeding techniques, to raise qualified experts, and raise incomes and living standards,” State Minister Said Yazıcıoğlu said on August 1 during a promotional meeting for the Africa Agricultural Development Program.

Yazicioglu noted that the average annual development aid provided by Turkey to Africa over the last three years was $650 million. The Turkish Cooperation & Development Agency (TİKA) initiated the program, supported by the Agriculture & Rural Affairs Ministry. Also speaking at the meeting, Agriculture & Rural Affairs Minister Mehmet Mehdi Eker told the audience that the main reason for the global food crisis was the use of agricultural raw materials for purposes other than food. Eker listed the other reasons for the food crisis as energy problems, global warming, change in nutrition habits and trade policies of wealthy countries.

“Close to 860 million people are going hungry in the world, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization [FAO], and the majority of them are living in Africa,” Eker said.

The program’s first stage will entail the training of high-level officials from 13 African countries between July 29 and Aug. 8. The second stage is scheduled for April 2009, with training sessions on vegetable production that will last for 25 days. Technical experts from African countries will assist Turkish staff in these sessions.

In addition, a 25-day program on animal diseases and animal breeding will be held in May 2009. In the final stage, TİKA experts and Agriculture & Rural Affairs Ministry officials will visit African countries to assess the results of the first and second stages of the program.


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