Turkey to begin wheat cultivation in Venezuela amid concerns of grain shortage

Source:  Ahval
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Turkey is set to begin wheat cultivation in Venezuela, Agriculture and Forestry Minister Vahit Kirişçi said on Saturday, amid concerns of a global shortage of the grain sparked by the Russia-Ukraine war.

The initiative is taking place on the invitation of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, T24 news site cited Kirişçi as saying at an agricultural event in southeastern Diyarbakır province.

“Produce 100 kilograms of wheat and take 70 of it for your own purposes and leave 30 for us,’’ he cited Maduro as saying in his proposal.

Earlier this week, Maduro paid an official visit to Turkey, as he sought Turkish investment in the fields of trade, energy, mining, contracting, health, agriculture and tourism, in his oil-rich country.

Turkey and Venezuela’s trade volume surged from $150 billion in 2019 to more than $850 million in 2021, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said during the visit, as he predicted a further increase this year to $1 billion.

Ukraine and Russia together account for one-third of the world’s wheat exports, but Russia’s invasion and blockade of Ukrainian ports since February are preventing exports of grain and steel, prompting fears of plunging the globe into a crisis.

Pointing out that Turkey is home to 5 million migrants, the agriculture minister said the country was “in need of more land for farming.”

Turkey has been exerting efforts to ease a global food crisis by negotiating safe passage for grain stuck in Black Sea ports. But Ankara has been met with resistance as Ukraine maintains Russia is imposing unreasonable conditions and the Kremlin says free shipment relies on an end to sanctions imposed on Russia.

Egypt earlier this month barred the entry of a ship carrying 55,000 tons of Indian wheat originally intended for Turkey, citing its failure to meet quarantine requirements, Al Arabiya reported.

“We rejected the ship before it entered Egypt,” it cited Egyptian plant quarantine chief Ahmed al-Attar as saying.

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