Türkiye Cumhuriyeti

Pekin Büyükelçiliği

Konuşma Metinleri

Speech at the China International Food Expo (IFE), 10.11.2011

        Dear Leaders, Members of the Chongqing Municipal Government,

Nushengmen, Xianshengmen, Pengyoumen,

Xiawu Hao!


        It’s a great honor and a rare privilege to be part of such a select group and participate in this prestigious China International Food Expo (IFE).


        I would like to thank the Municipality of Chongqing for the kind invitation, warm hospitality and the opportunity to address such a distinguished gathering. It is a great pleasure to take part in a forum on a subject which is quite pertinent.


        After coming to Chongqing and seeing with my own two eyes the development and the dynamism of the biggest municipality in the world, I regretted not coming earlier. Although I have been reading a lot about Chongqing, I can assure you that none has been able to capture the real and very impressive essence of this city.


This city is exemplary for urban and rural development policies. Chongqing is today indeed the biggest industrial and commercial center, communication hub and inland port in southwest China. Due to visionary policies pursued by its leaders, Chongqing has experienced eneormous socio-economic developments and I believe still has a big role to play in the China Model, especially within the context of 12th Five Year Plan.


This year we are celebrating the 40th anniversary of our diplomatic ties with China.  Our common history and the fact that we are both developing countries and facing similar problems makes it easier to understand each other. Owing to these we were able to make remarkable progress in our relations. As the sage Confucius who transcended Millenia had said “…at 40 you are no more perplexed”. Yet I do believe that there is a potential for further deepening our ties in various fields such as agriculture and food production.   


Ladies and Gentlemen,


        The world population reached 7 billion a few days ago. According to estimates the world population will double by 2050.


        Today one of 7 people go to sleep hungry. 1 billion people in the world are suffering from malnutrition. Due to reasons like poverty, urbanisation, draugt, land degradation, salination and climate change many areas of the world are facing hunger. Malnutrion and hunger cause serious health problems and deaths, give rise to migration which leads to conflicts leading to confrontation in the host areas. Unfortunately, the most vulnerable segments of the population  are the ones affected from hunger. Although aid is provided, this vicious circle of poverty, health problems, lack of food production can not be broken.


        Many are asking if the food production can keep up with the increase of the population. In the early 1960s, most nations were self-sufficient in food, but alarm about a rapidly growing population (~2% annually) caused concern. Then, the Green Revolution (high-yield crops and energy intensive agriculture) brought about remarkable increases in crop production. World grain output expanded by a factor of 2 to 6 from the 1950s to the 1980s. Today, per capita production has now slowed and appears to be declining. The average life expectancy in the first decade of the new millenium is 68 and that this figure is increasig. We should take these aspects into consideration in its totality if we wish to charter a more predictable future.

Many scientists claim that the human race now appears to be getting close to the limits of global food productive capacity based on present technologies. Substantial damage already has been done to the biological and physical systems that we depend on, for food production. 

The world is unlikely to see food production keep pace with population growth if things continue as they have. If they do continue then the world will experience a declining per capita food production in the decades ahead. This decline would include spreading malnutrition and increased pressure on agricultural  and forest resources. 

Besides production, food safety play an equally prominent role in our future well-being. Healthy production is as critical as healthy packaging and delivery

Controlling these damaging activities and increasing food production must now receive priority. If not, future attempts to expand global food production would require massive programs to conserve land, much larger energy inputs than at present, and new sources as well as more efficient use of fresh water. 

The food safety starts at the field where cereals are grown, at the sea where the fish are caught and at the prairie where the animals graze. In other words, it is a complete process including the each periods of the production cycle. It starts from the field and ends at our table. To give you an example about the importance of food safety, each year 76 million cases of food borne diseases are encountered in the US. Out of these 76 million cases, 325.000 of them need hospitilization. This costs 35 billion US Dollars. So this is not a challenge to developing nations alone. In terms of medical expenses and loss of productivity, we are faced with dual challenges, while ensuring safety we are expected to increase the yield, as well.

As Professor Zhang Li Jian pointed out we have to review few facts abour arable land: Of the world's total land area of 150 million square kilometer (16 X the area of the US), much is not suitable for agriculture. Arable land comprises 10% of the total. Permanent crops are 1%; meadows and pastures, 24%; forest and woodland, 31%. The remaining 34% is land surface that supports little or no vegetation: Antarctica, deserts, mine sites, urban areas. Nearly all of the world's productive land is already exploited. Most of the unexploited land is either too steep, too wet, too dry or too cold for agriculture. In Asia, nearly 80% of potentially arable land is now under cultivation. 

In Turkey, 36 % of the land  can be used for agriculture, wheras this figure is 15 % in China. Owing to new techniques and modernized agriculture, the use of dripping in agriculture helps oh harvest sufficiend food in both countries. We also have some special projects to increase the yield in crops. In Turkey e.g. we have the Souteastern Anatolia Project which is a development model, aiming to increase agricultural and enrgy production, giving special attention to education in the agricultural field, enhancing efficiency, addressing the needs of the farmers and women.

        In the world currently adequate amount of food is produced, yet there are problems in  food safety and in the distribution of food supplies.  Therefore, while some regions enjoy abundance, some other regions are facing serious shortages in food. Africa has been sufferig since decades.


        Both the quantity and the quality of food are and will always be as paramount issues. To this end governments are expected to determine the standards and make the necessary controls to avoid health concerns. However, this does not mean that governments should use these instruments as disguised barrier to agricultural trade. Governments should also work to increase food supplies, while at the same time reducing population growth and protecting land, water  and biological resources. In this regard, countries shoul focus on producing the products for which they have comparative advantages and increase their trade exchanges. Thereby, the world resources would be used more wisely, the environment would be less contaminated and the global prosperity would be increased.


        Another area where government intervention is needed, is the supporting of farmers, who in many cases do not get enough money for their products, whereas the market prices of their crops is much higher due to middle men involved. If farmers do not earn enough they will not be willing to produce and look for a job elsewhere. The governments should not only encourage agriculture but also care for creating employment related with agriculture in rural areas if we want to avoid structural unemployment and swelling of urban population.


Governments should also work on educating especially farmers and women to increase food production and safety.  Vocational training for young farmers is also important. Education is essential to raise awareness so as food is not wasted. According to FAO reports each year 1.3 billion tons of food is lost or wasted. In industrialized countries, more than 40 percent of food is lost. Losses occur at retail and consumer levels, and in developing countries more than 40 percent of food losses occur at post harvest and processing levels. With the quantity lost annually in industrial countries (222 million tons), we would be able to feed the people of Sub Saharan Africa

Ladies and Gentlemen,

        Worldwide China is leading in the production of many agricultural products such as tomatoes, rice, potatoes, fish, wheat, apples. Likewise, Turkey is also leading in the production of cherries, figs, apricots, grapes, nuts, apples, tomatoes and onions. Both countries have also strong sectors for processed agricultural products. In this regard, I believe Turkey and China have considerable potential in agricultural production and therefore should enhance their cooperation and bilateral trade fort he mentioned products.


        Last but not least.


        Yet we still need to be creative and have a vision to secure food for the future generations. In this respect, countries must work on new techniques, conduct reseach for increasing agricultural yield, strengthen the awareness in safety, improve technology in food additives, food machinery, storage and transportation means, educate farmers, preserve nature  and cooperate with each other.


        As a solution, we must find how  to raise the food productivity. The available land is not increasing unless we stop soil erosion and develop building top agriculture or bunk bed style double or tripple layered greenhouses. Through science and research, we can plant high yield crops that grow well in draught. But the key is in cooperation, sharing valuable information and standardize the safety requirements in this field. As we all know we are on the same boat.

        I would like to thank for your hospitality and the opportunity to address such a distinguished audience. I wish all the best to Chongqing and its industrious people.


Xie xie.