Türkiye’s minister of agriculture and forestry called for international and multilateral cooperation to tackle food insecurity.
In his address to the Economic Cooperation Organization’s (ECO) 7th Ministerial Meeting on Agriculture in Uzbekistan’s capital Tashkent, Vahit Kirişci said: “Our primary responsibility is to leave a habitable world to future generations.”
Food security has been affected by fluctuations in food prices, increasing population, changing consumption habits, climate change and its effects on agricultural production, the limitation of natural resources, the decrease in water resources, rapid urbanization and migration, the inadequacy of logistics infrastructure and the COVID-19 pandemic in recent years, Kirişci said.
“While millions of children are suffering from stunting or wasting away, more and more children and adults are becoming overweight or obese,” he said, touching upon the unequal distribution of resources.
“On the other hand, 1.3 billion tons of food, which corresponds to approximately one-third of the food produced for human consumption, is lost and wasted due to social, economic, environmental and, most importantly, climate changerelated problems,” he said.
Kirişci stated that Russia’s war in Ukraine exacerbated the issue and is “expected to have harsh consequences for food security outcomes, following the displacement of millions of Ukrainians.” The minister said that 13% of the ECO region, with a population of nearly 550 million, is still suffering from undernourishment and faces severe food insecurity.
“To meet the increasing demand in ECO member states, enhancing crop and livestock breeding productivity is essential,” said Kirişci, adding strengthening market connectivity is also vital to promote rural and urban linkages. Kirişci also invited all ECO member states to the Regional Conference on Food Loss and Waste Reduction in Europe and Central Asia, which will be held in Istanbul in October, and the 8th Seed Conference, which is planned to be held in Azerbaijan in December.
He also stated that Türkiye is ready to share experience in agriculture and cooperate with ECO member states.