Turkish ministries to allocate idle lands to farmers

The agriculture and urbanization ministries have jointly developed a project to allocate idle agricultural lands under public domain to farmers to grow certain types of products such as cereals and oil seeds, according to remarks made by the two ministers.

It is vital to sustain agricultural output and to manage food supply security as part of measures against the coronavirus pandemic, said a statement by the Agriculture and Forestry Ministry on April 10.

“In his way, we will make our farmers benefit from the agricultural lands effectively. In the first stage of the pilot project, plantation will take place on lands totaling 9.7 million square meters. Strategic products such as cereals, legumes, oily seeds and forage crops will be planted [on these lands],” Agriculture and Forestry Minister Bekir Pakdemirli was quoted as saying in the statement.

Farmers will use the allocated lands for exemplary cultivations without charge, he said, adding that “affirmative action will be implemented for women and youth.”

“Farmers residing in the villages around idle public lands will be prioritized according to a point-based system. As the objective of this action is to increase the agricultural output, we aim to get the idle lands into production rather than focusing on the lands already planted. Our work will continue until there’s not a single inch of agricultural land left unplanted,” said Pakdemirli.

On his part, Environment and Urbanization Minister Murat Kurum said that rental payments land tenures were deferred for six months.

“This move covers 51,000 farmers with whom we have lease contracts for a total of 600 million-square lands. By this way, we have backed our farmers in these rough times,” he said.

“Project for Improved Plant Production” will be implemented in the eastern provinces of Kars, Erzurum, Erzincan, Muş and Bingöl, as well as the Central Anatolian provinces of Kayseri and Sivas.

Farmers residing in 42 villages and towns – of which 16 are in Bingöl – will be eligible to apply as part of the project.

Meanwhile, the Agriculture and Forestry Ministry has started paying shepherd payments to livestock farmers.

“We will pay incentives of 53 million Turkish Liras ($7.9 million) to 10,530 businesses involved in livestock farming,” said the ministry, adding that the payments were deposited in their bank accounts after 6 p.m. on April 10.


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