Turkey’s current or planned health and economic recovery policies for addressing COVID-19 are not taking into account issues related to climate change mitigation and/or adaptation. However, there is a very important climate-related issue that Turkey should consider as part of its COVID-19 economic recovery program: the return to self-sustaining agricultural production.
Doing so would completely change Turkey’s methods of producing, supplying, and consuming food. Current agricultural production practices do not produce but consume; they consume large amounts of the soil, water, and air needed to grow their crops.
Current industrial agriculture only grows products with the highest return. While more than 6000 plant species have been cultivated and harvested throughout history, more than 66% of total agricultural production consists of only eight plant species. Moving away from monoculture farming to a more biodiverse production system will require less chemical pesticides and fertilizers and result in a reduction in CO2 emissions.
Agroecology is an agricultural method that centers on food production that makes the best use of nature’s goods and services while not damaging these resources which must be addressed as soon as possible and is the only and most efficient way to ensure food safety in Turkey.
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Turkey’s current agricultural system is not enabling the country to adapt to extreme heat and other extreme weather events associated with COVID-19; nor does the current monocultural system support the long-term sustainability of Turkey’s land and water resources. The economic recovery that will be needed in the aftermath of COVID-19 should include the investments needed to put Turkey’s agricultural system on a sustainable footing.
Policies supporting sustainable agricultural production should be included as part of Turkey’s COVID-19 economic recovery plan. There are already good long-term planning models for sustainable agricultural production around the world. Turkey needs to research and adopt these models for its own use.
Republic of Turkey Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry
Department of Agricultural Practices and Organic Agriculture Department
Phone: 0090 312 258 83 14
This post was submitted by Climate Scorecard Turkey Country Manager Ozlem Duyan