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Turkish view on opportunities for European agriculture

Farming Life’s Ric hard Halleron spent most of this week in Turkey. While there he had the opportunity of interviewing one of that country’s most influential agri –business women.

Zeynep Erkunt Armagan is managing director of Erkunt Tractors, one of Turkey’s largest farm machinery manufacturers.

The company is the second largest supplier of tractors to its home market and is enjoying increased export sales in 26 countries around the world.

Significantly, Zeynep, has very clear views on the future prospects for EU agriculture and the steps Europe must take to secure its future food supply base.

“The EU must place sustainable food production as a key priority moving forward,” she explained.

“Here in Turkey the government is actively supporting the farming sectors as a way of reducing our reliance on food imports.

“We have recognised that the most efficient way of doing this is to encourage family farm businesses.

“And I see no reason why this approach cannot be replicated in the EU.”

Zeynep fully recognises that there is potential for regions such as Northern Ireland to supply food into China and the world’s other fast growing economies.

“But the real demand in these regions is for organic food, produce that is grown without the use for artificial fertilisers and pesticides,” she stressed.

“This reflects the impact of numerous food scares in these countries.

“As a result, large tracts of Africa are now being procured on long term leasing arrangements to allow countries such as Russia and China grow the organic food they require for their own markets.

“I agree that increasing organic food output alone will not meet the needs of the projected rise in the world’s population over the next 30 years.

“However, what’s going on in Africa at the present time reflects the importance for Europe’s food exporting regions to deliver on issues such as traceability
when it comes to securing new business opportunities in countries such as China.”

Over the coming months Zeynep’s company will enter the UK and Irish markets.

“We are currently seeking to appoint a distributor in Northern Ireland,” she confirmed.

“Our tractors are particulalry well suited to meeting the needs of livestock farmers, combining both performance and reliability.

“We hope to secure our first sales over the coming months.”