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Statement by Mr. Gürsel Küsek the General Director of Agricultural Reform, Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock of the Republic of Turkey

Mr. Chair, Honorable President,
Distinguished Governors and Delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is my pleasure to address these honorable audiences on the occasion of the 37th IFAD Governing Council. I wish a successful meeting with substantial contribution to the crucial issue of investing smallholder family farmers for the future we want.

Smallholder family farming is the prevailing agricultural activity in most developing countries, especially in the least developed countries. According to the recent studies, an estimated 2.5 billion people are involved in smallholder agriculture and they manage approximately 500 million small farms supplying over 80 percent of the food consumed in large parts of the developing world. As smallholders are absolute contributors of world food security and nutrition, they represent an important part of agriculture and have a key role in feeding the world population, estimated 9.3 billion by 2050.
However, most of these people are living in absolute poverty and are on the cutting edge of the global challenges such as land use, low productivity, rising fertilizer and fuel prices, access to credit, climate change and changing market situations. They will continue to operate near or under the poverty line unless we deal with these challenges and have the necessary support and policy approaches.

Therefore as policy makers, supporting smallholders who are of utmost importance in terms of their contribution to the agriculture sector is an issue for us that should not be neglected. In this context, in an effort to ensure sustainable smallholder agriculture, we should take concrete proactive measures and cooperate at international and global level to combat with these challenges they face.

Distinguished Delegates,

At this point, investment in agriculture and especially for smallholders is considered to be a vital issue of today's world in which the number of hungry people reached about to 842 million.

Within this framework, the first thing to be done is developing appropriate investment policies in infrastructure given the requirements of smallholder family farmers and putting them into practice to take advantage of their potential, to sustain increased agricultural output, improve rural incomes, productivity and the quality of their lives.

As determining the appropriate investment policies for smallholders we should comprehensively address all their needs such as productivity, land tenure, adaptation to environmental problems and access to markets and credits.

Besides the public investment which focuses more on the provision of public goods, the private sector's role in investment should also be taken into consideration to enable mutual benefits from public-private partnership.

Distinguished Governors,

Aware of the great importance of smallholders, Turkey takes measures, especially as locally developed practices bearing in mind the requirements of smallholder farms which constitutes 97 per cent of all farms in Turkey. Through recently adopted effective policies and measures, the impact of global challenges on our smallholders has been reduced gradually.

The agricultural production in Turkey was tripled during the last decade. The total budget for the support of rural development programmes has been increased from TRY 240 million in 2012 to nearly TRY 480 million in 2013.
"Rural Development Investment's Support Program" with a certain percentage of grants which enables agriculture-industry integration is being implemented. Investments that provide added value, improve rural development and enhance farmer's livelihood by increasing their income are being supported. In this context, we support investments in areas such as processing, packaging, building warehouses, modern irrigation systems. By this means, we pave the way for farmers to be the "real investors". Turkey can be considered as a model in this sense.

As a last point, I would like to give you some brief information about bread waste campaign that we have been implementing throughout Turkey. By this campaign, we have saved 384 million loaves of bread annually which means 10 percent saving in consumption. You can find detailed information on this campaign in flash memories which will be delivered to you at the end of the session.

Before concluding my remarks, I would like to emphasize the importance of taking joint actions at global level for the sake of smallholders as they are the backbone of global agricultural production. Also we should remember that we are on the same ship and will leave this planet to our future generations.

Thank you.