Turkey will in the future cease to be a meat-importing country, Food, Agriculture and Livestock Minister Ahmet Eşref Fakıbaba said on Jan. 12, amid recent controversy over Turkey’s struggling livestock sector and rising imports of meat.
“I don’t want to give a specific timeframe but Turkey will not import meat. I believe we will be one of the countries that exports meat,” Fakıbaba told state-run Anadolu Agency.
On criticism of Turkey’s overseas meat purchases, he noted that Ankara had made such an agreement with Serbia but the meat imports had yet to arrive.
Referring to Turkey’s regulations on slaughtering bovine animals, he stressed that all slaughterhouses from which Turkey imports meat must comply with “halal” Islamic rules.
Separately, Fakıbaba said his ministry had signed a protocol with the Defense Ministry to supply food for the Turkish military, in a deal that is hoped to benefit Turkish farmers.
“The average figure for this trade will be 750 million Turkish Liras [$198.4 million],” he said.
Fakıbaba also noted that the country is now selling seeds to 76 countries for $154 million.
However, Turkey also buys seeds from 59 countries for a total worth $200 million. The government says it aims to increase the country’s seed production to 2 million tons by 2023, up from the current 1 million tons.