From the podium

From the podium

His Excellency Necati Ütkan (Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Turkey to FAO)

Mr Chairman,
Distinguished Delegates,

It is an honour for me to address the Summit on behalf of the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of the Republic of Turkey, who is unable to participate here today, but has asked me to submit his best wishes for the successful conclusion of the Summit.

Since 1996, FAO and the international community have exerted great efforts for the implementation of the Plan of Action adopted at the World Food Summit.

However, we all here share the view that the prevailing trends is still far below the rate that is required to achieve the goal of the World Food Summit. We also agree that there still exist obstacles in achieving world food security. Consequently, we believe an investment plan should be prepared in agricultural and rural development for the developing countries to which both national governments and international financial organizations are urged to commit. Equability should be achieved in the world trade system. Agricultural trade terms should be improved for the benefit of the developing countries with a view to provide easy access for their products to the markets of developed countries. Private investments should be increased and organisztion of farmers, producers and agricultural credit cooperatives should be supported in the developing countries. And finally that a better coordination must be achieved between donors and beneficiaries in the mobilization of funds.

For our part, the Turkish Government has already taken certain measures for the implementation of the World Food Summit Plan of Action and has inserted them into its national plans and programmes.

Thus, Turkey, while performing the agricultural development project to assure its own food security, also contributes to the achievement of food security in her region and eventually, to the global food security. Within this context, I would like to remind the South Eastern Anatolian Development Project by which a land of 1.7 million hectares will be irrigated has a significant importance.

With our initiative, projects have been prepared by Turkey and FAO concerning accomplishment of the South-South Cooperation Programme with Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Kyrgyz Republic. The projects will be realised after the procedures for the soft loan credit obtained from the Islamic Development Bank have been completed.

Within the framework of nutrition training and research project, in Turkey, three hundred thousand rural women between the ages of 15 and 45 have been trained on child nutrition, hygiene, childcare and training, correct cooking and preservation methods. Training activities on food control have been provided. Producers, industrialists and marketers are informed and educated within the context of the project on "Food Safety from Farm to Table". Small-sized TeleFood projects have been prepared and realised in order to improve the living standard of poor farmers.

Besides, field-training programmes of childcare are carried out in the vocational schools at which importance of nutrition, food groups, food elements and nutrition programmes are included into the timetables.

Nutrition programmes implemented at primary schools are targeted to improve the correct nutrition habits of the school children.

"Drinking Milk Weeks" organized by Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs at primary schools is one of the good examples of the implementations to achieve food security in conformity with the targets of the World Food Summit.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of Turkey has started a study on Food Insecurity and Vulnerability Information and Early Warning System (FIVIMS) and Food Security Information and Early Warning System (FSIEWS) aimed to set up a national food security system, which is adaptable to international food security implementations.

National Agricultural Development Strategy, called Horizon 2010, has been prepared and published with the collaboration of the FAO, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, universities, NGO's and other related institutions.

Turkey has seriously suffered from destruction, damage and losses by the two subsequent big earthquakes, which took place in the year 1999. With the immediate measures taken by the Turkish Government, the negative repercussions in agricultural production have been mitigated. Also, with the collaboration of the FAO, the Young Farmers' Action Plan has been implemented in the earthquake region.

Taking into consideration the international trend we have endorsed a new legislation concerning production consumption and inspection of foodstuffs.

A food Safety Action Plan has been prepared and enforced throughout Turkey in order to elaborate food safety with a view to supply safe food to the consumers. Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) system and good manufacturing practices as well as studies on setting up a rapid alert system measures are the major implementations aimed to protect consumers and to achieve efficient food security and food safety in Turkey. New food analysis laboratories have been established and the prevailing laboratories have been improved within this context.

The Turkish Government has also initiated a set of measures for the improvement of the conditions of poor farmers living in the forest and mountain areas aimed at acquiring their food security. As we are commemorating the International Year of Mountains, a national symposium on mountains will be held on 25-27 June 2002 in Turkey.

I would like to close my remarks by noting that we will continue to meet our obligations and commitment in achieving food security for all.

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