FAO in Türkiye

FAO and Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry join efforts to “Build Back Better” after recent devastating earthquakes

Photo: © FAO

Ankara An online meeting jointly hosted today by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry of Türkiye (MoAF) discussed the aftermath of the devastating earthquakes that struck southern Turkey on 6 February, current assessment efforts, and response and recovery plans.


The event, which was moderated by the Assistant FAO Representative in Türkiye, Aysegul Selışık, was attended by over 100 participants including representatives of governments and partners in the agriculture sector. At the start of the meeting, condolences were offered by Nebi Çelik, Director-General of Sectors and Public Investments, Presidency of Strategy and Budget; Fuat Kasımcan, Director-General of EU and Foreign Relations, MoAF; and Viorel Gutu, Sub-regional Coordinator for Central Asia and FAO Representative in Türkiye, all of whom expressed their hope for collaboration to “build back better” after the damage and loss caused by the earthquakes.


During the opening remarks, Fuat Kasımcan presented alarming figures that revealed the significant loss of physical and human capital, which have placed food security and the sustainability of agricultural livelihoods at risk. He explained that the 11 provinces affected by the earthquake contribute around 15 percent of Türkiye’s agricultural GDP and 20 percent of Türkiye’s agricultural production and urged the attendees to support the government in responding to this disaster. Viorel Gutu reiterated this point, adding that “We must collaborate closely and efficiently with the government and local partners to tackle the impact of the earthquakes on agri-food systems and work to accelerate recovery efforts.”


These opening remarks were followed by an Agriculture Sector Update and Earthquake Emergency Response report given by Peter John Agnew, Roving Emergency Coordinator from FAO Headquarters. Agnew described the impact, losses and challenges in greater detail and explained how FAO and the MoAF intend to execute their response and recovery plan.


He elaborated: “In the immediate term our plan is to provide immediate response and aid to the four most affected provinces – Adıyaman, Hatay, Kahramanmaraş and Malatya – as well as two districts in Gaziantep – Nurdağı and Islahiye. In the medium and long term, we will focus on building back better, mobilizing resources and coordinating the response from partners in the sector”.


During the Q&A session, partners emphasized the different urgent needs and assistance required by rural community members, including women, and highlighted the importance of creating cooperatives at this stage of the response.


The closing remarks were provided by Nebi Çelik, who underlined the importance of cooperation to mitigate the impacts of the earthquake and referenced the unprecedented migration of people from earthquake-affected zones to the surrounding provinces. He explained: “In the short term, we will take necessary steps as a state for the return of these people. Furthermore, as this is an important season for agricultural production, our top priority is to help those producers and farmers who were affected by the earthquake to restart production.”