Turkey’s Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEİK) on Feb. 22 hosted an agri-focused virtual business forum with New Zealand.
With climate change and rising food demand in view, speakers focused on the use of technology and joint collaborations to increase bilateral trade.
Wendy Hinton, New Zealand’s ambassador to Turkey, said the twin challenges of an inefficient food system and the impact of climate change are interrelated. “Both New Zealand and Turkey are making investments in developing sustainable practices, boosting production, and responding to a changing world,” she said.
Turkey’s newly appointed ambassador to New Zealand, Fatma Ömür Ünsay, said the two countries have “great potential for investment” and can find new areas for joint collaboration.
Turkey and New Zealand bilateral trade is close to $200 million annually. The two countries are collaborating in healthcare, agricultural technology, communications, and seismic research, among others.
While Turkey imports sheep intestines, wool, and skin from New Zealand, the latter buys Turkey-made vehicles, dry fruits, and plastics.
Catherine Beard, a Kiwi expert, said Turkey's exports of finished carpets to New Zealand "is a fantastic collaboration."
She shared key statistics about New Zealand such as its food and dairy industry competes with the U.S. and China, it meets 80% of entire energy needs through renewable means, and that it does not provide subsidies to the agriculture sector as “farmers are highly productive.”
The country spends half a billion dollars on agricultural research annually, and has four globally recognized universities for agri-food research, she said.
Emine Feyhan Yaşar, representing Yaşar Holdings from Turkey, said food security is important for future generations, as well as to overcome water and nutrition deficiencies.
Technologies such as robots, GPS, and censors will allow efficient use of resources and result in more productivity, she added.
Yaşar termed the use of technology in farming as “smart agriculture,” which will ensure a stable food supply chain.