UPDATES WITH MORE REMARKS OF TURKISH MINISTER
By Tuba Sahin and Gokhan Ergocun
ANKARA/ISTANBUL (AA) - Turkey's agriculture and forestry minister said Friday 82 million saplings will be planted across the country until November this year.
"The rooting average of the saplings planted on Nov. 11, 2019 is 95%," Bekir Pakdemirli told Anadolu Agency’s Editors’ Desk in the capital Ankara.
Over 11 million saplings were planted in more than 2,000 different localities across Turkey on Nov. 11 at 11.11 a.m. local time (0811GMT), as part of the Breath for the Future campaign launched by the ministry.
Nov. 11 was declared National Forestation Day to be marked annually.
The ministry planted the saplings on behalf of people who adopted them online as part of the massive forestation campaign.
Pakdemirli added that the ministry itself plants nearly 300 million trees per year.
- Turkey, self-sufficient in meeting meat demand
Touching on Turkey's meat import, Pakdemirli said the ministry has not given certificate for livestocks since Oct. 26.
"Our meat import was 55,752 tons in 2018 and 5,037 tons in 2019," he said.
He added that Turkey is a self-sufficient country regarding meat, and citizens can access to meat easily.
Pakdemirli underlined that Turkey's standards for genetically modified organism (gmo) are far beyond that of the EU.
Agricultural pesticide consumption in Turkey is 2.3 kilograms per one hectare, while it was 4 kg in Europe, 11.8 kg in Japan, 7.9 kg in the Netherlands, 3.6 kg in France, and 13.1 kg in China, he elaborated.
He also said Turkey's fertilizer consumption -- 142 kg per one hectare -- is also lower than the EU average, 158 kg per one hectare.
"Our products are above the EU standards, this situation should reflect on our prices," he said.
Responding to a question about electric tractor, he said the test process of the vehicle was completed.
"The factory is getting ready for manufacturing. It will be ready by July or August," Pakdemirli stated.
- Turkey exports seed to 86 countries
He also highlighted that Turkey focused on other technologic solutions in agriculture, such as digital livestock ear tags and milking machines.
Mentioning the country's seed production, Pakdemirli stressed that the production rose seven times since 2002.
"We meet 96% of our seed requirement locally," he added.
Turkey exports seed to 86 countries and earns $152 million annually, while it is an import-dependent country for vegetable seeds.
"We launched a project with the Scientific and Technological Research Council [for vegetable seeds], we will produce these seeds domestically in a short period," he stated.
Every one of three pieces of food is wasted globally, while every one of nine people face starving in the world, he said, urging for a global initiative against wasting.