Celebrating World Food Day in Turkey

World Food day was celebrated in Turkey on 16 October with numerous events taking place across the country.

The official celebration took place in collaboration with the Turkish Food and Beverage Industry Employers Association (TUGIS) on 16 October in Istanbul with the high-level participation of Mehdi Eker, Minister of Food, Livestock and Agriculture of Turkey.

In Ankara, students took to the streets wearing family farming themed t-shirts, holding signs that read “Food for All” and chanting “feed the world, care for the earth” in Turkish. 

FAO staff, along with food producers, Ministry officials and the general public walked from the Town Hall through the neighbourhood to the Yenimahalle market place. The parade is organized every year by the FAO Turkey team in collaboration with the Municipality of Yenimahalle.

Welcoming the audience in her opening speech, Yuriko Shoji, FAO Representative for Turkey, stressed the vast potential of family farmers if supported by the right policies.

“The challenge of food security can only be resolved through a global partnership involving national, international, public, private and voluntary sectors,” she said.

“The goal of this year’s World Food Day is to position family farming at the centre of agricultural, environmental and social policies in the national agendas by identifying gaps and opportunities to promote a shift towards a more equal and balanced development”.

At the market place, family farming posters were showcased that encompass some of the winners of this year’s World Food Day contest launched by FAO, as well as paintings of Syrian children who attended the contest within the framework of UNICEF Child Friendly Spaces.

UNICEF and WFP teams on the ground contributed to raise awareness on family farming by encouraging children living in tent cities based in Turkey to participate in FAO’s poster contest as well as providing information on food security and hygiene.

Another traditional World Food Day event, a horse race dedicated to this special day, took place at the Turkey Jockey Club.

Meeting with local producers

In three Turkish cities, Antalya, Adana and Nevsehir, World Food Day events were organized with a special focus on acknowledging the role of local producers and their vital contribution to food security.

YOREX Local Products Fair in Antalya brought together private sector representatives, civil society organizations and local producers giving them the opportunity to form partnerships and source new markets.

Family farming from an academic point of view

Academic discussions with the participation of prominent scholars, experts and specialists from various provinces, were also a part of celebrations in Turkey.

A two-day symposium on family farming was hosted by the Faculty of Agricultural Engineering in Ankara University.

The symposium resulted in the release of a publication entitled “National Family Farming Symposium” encompassing around 70 academic papers focusing on socio-economic, gender, sustainability, extension and environmental aspects of family farming.

“Firstly, we aim to gather current studies that have been done so far on family farming, discuss them and share these with general public,” said Bulent Gulcubuk, editor of the publication and professor at Ankara University. “As a result of the panels and papers that will be presented during the symposium, we believe that we will be able to contribute to a roadmap for all policy makers through a concrete and lasting study like this book”.

So far, nine family farming workshops and symposiums have been organized at national level in various Turkish cities, initiated by the FAO country team and managed by Ministry of Food, Livestock and Agriculture of Turkey.

Before the end of the year, thanks to the results of these regional workshops, there will be a national meeting which aims to generate an action plan for supporting, revising and innovating family farming policies in agricultural agenda of Turkey.