By Dilara Zengin
Turkey and six African countries signed cooperation deals in agriculture, fisheries and livestock in the Mediterranean resort province of Antalya on Friday.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Turkey's Food, Agriculture and Livestock Minister Faruk Celik recalled Turkey's ongoing efforts to develop agricultural cooperation with the continent since 2005.
As a result of these efforts, Turkey's trade with Africa increased from $5 billion to $18 billion, Celik said.
"In terms of agriculture, our trade has increased from $418 million up to $2.5 billion. We know that these figures are not sufficient. We are all aware of this. The aim of all these meetings is to raise our trade volume, especially in the area of agriculture and to further develop our relationships in every field," the minister added.
Friday was the last day of Turkey-Africa First Agriculture Ministers Meeting and Agribusiness Forum. Organized by the Turkish Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock, the two-day event hosted more than 300 participants, including ministers, from 54 African countries.
The deals were signed with Congo, Ivory Coast, Djibouti, Guinea, Rwanda and Gambia.
Celik underlined that agriculture was a strategic sector and a must for the African continent.
"African continent holds one fourth of the whole arable land in the world. That is why it is not possible to ignore the agricultural potential in Africa," he said, adding Turkey was "extending its hand to Africa not to take something from it, but "to make sure that Africa stands on its own feet".
Celik noted that the participating agriculture ministers addressed significant topics and problems regarding the sector in their countries.
The meetings will create an opportunity to resolve the country's problems, he said.
"We have seen that it is possible for countries to develop themselves when their agricultural supplies and demands match," he added.
"The main important thing is to have an arable land and to ensure that that land can be irrigated. All other issues can be solved through qualified technical means and staff," Celik said.
Sacko Josefa Leonel Correa, African Union commissioner for rural economy and agriculture, said that African countries and Turkey worked towards starting a cooperation.
"We are now witnessing a political will in Turkey. This is highly important for the development of agriculture sector and for the development of African countries. We are aware of the effort," Sacko said.
The commissioner underlined that they were working in the fields of livestock, fisheries, environment, irrigation and sanitation.
"During the meetings, we listen to different presentations and projects. I believe that we are on the right path," she said.
Sacko praised Turkey's experience in the area of agriculture as "one of the largest exporters of agricultural commodities."
"Hence, we have a lot to learn from you and we can benefit from your experiences, she said.Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.