Posted on 14 February 2011
Turkey’s wheat crop may rise 12 percent
Turkey’s wheat harvest may rise about 12 percent this year as fresh rains and government assistance help farmers recover from last year’s drought, Agriculture Minister Mehdi Eker said on Tuesday.
The increase, to about 20 million metric tons from 17.8 million tons, underlines the country’s determination to remain a wheat-exporting country, Eker said in an interview in Ankara. Rain and snow levels in Turkey, the Middle East’s largest exporter of the grain, have been good this year, he said.
The ministry estimates droughts, such as last year’s, occur in the country every two decades, although global climate changes may make them more frequent in the future, Eker said.
While farmers are experimenting with strains that are more resistant to drought, the ministry remains opposed to the use of genetically modified crops, Eker said. The government is preparing legislation that may allow genetically modified produce to be used in restricted test areas, he said.
Turkey hasn’t benefited from the so-called Health Check, under which the European Union reviewed the functioning of the bloc’s Common Agricultural Policy, Eker added.
Hurriyet Daily News 5 March 2009 (Abridged)