Türkiye to amend 11 articles in forest, agriculture regulation: Ministry


Ankara is considering an 11-article bill aimed at providing counter-measures against climate change to boost forest and agricultural productivity, according to reports released Thursday.

The accepted articles regulate the planning and coordination policies of the government, covering key issues in the agricultural sector, from hemp cultivation for fiber to the production of pesticides. The articles will be subject to the permission of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.

Officials noted that the bill aims to encourage contracted production and producers will be given priority and granted support.

As part of the new regulations, product groups determined by the ministry will be created under contract to ensure supply security in the face of epidemics for agricultural trade. They will be in accordance with domestic or foreign demand and will focus on the protection of plant and animal health.

Contracted production is the key issue among others in the bill, as new registration systems that include the parties of the contract to develop, monitor and control contracted production are set to be established.

Penalties will be determined for the producers or buyers who undermine the purchase or sale of the product produced under the contract.

The penalty clause cannot be less than 20% or more than 50% of the contract value of the amount of the missing product to be bought or sold. In the contracts to which the Meat and Dairy Institution is a party, the penalty for the producer may be set less than the lower limit or the penalty condition may not be included at all.

In legal cases arising from agricultural production contracts, the application to a mediator will be a condition of litigation. This provision will apply to lawsuits filed after Sept. 1, 2023.

Until an integrated administration and control system is established, the support payments to be made to producers will be based on the registration systems determined by the ministry.

Cultivation of hemp

The cultivation or processing of hemp (a botanical class of cannabis) for production is another key issue in the bill. From now on, the cultivation will be carried out by the Turkish Grain Board (TMO) in line with the quota determined by the Turkish Presidency according to the country’s supply and demand situation.

In the cultivation of cannabis for medical purposes for the production of active drug substances, the procedures and principles regarding its harvest, processing, distribution, export or sale will be determined by the ministry, after consulting with the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Health, if necessary.

Before starting production the ministry will ensure food safety and security, increase efficiency, protect the environment and establish sustainability. The ministry will also determine product groups and the minimum and maximum production amounts on the basis of agricultural basins or enterprises, taking into account the amounts of supply and demand.

In this context, those who are found to violate the laws for the first time will be warned in writing to operate in accordance with its provisions. However, those who are warned in writing by the ministry but do not take appropriate action within 12 months from the issued warning date will not be able to benefit from any support program for the next five years.

Horse racing

The ministry will be authorized to determine the types and conditions of the horses that will run in non-local races to be held that year. Disciplinary penalties will be issued to horse owners, representatives, trainers, assistant coaches, horse jockeys, jockey apprentices, riders, grooms and others who violate the race rules and regulations.

The penalties to be imposed on the list of prohibited substances within the scope of doping and used to increase performance in racehorses will be increased and the severity level will be determined according to the nature of the act.

Mining activity

The damage caused to forests, nature and the environment by throwing debris or construction waste into state forests by transporting or dumping excavation or garbage will be considered a crime.

The ministry will give permission for the necessary facilities, roads, energy, water, communication and infrastructure for the exploration and operation of mines and such activities in state forests.

However, vested rights are preserved during the license period, including the extensions, mineral exploration, and operation in areas where there is a seed production, gene protection areas, conservation forests, fertile forest areas, forest parks, and endemic and rare ecosystems that need to be protected. The matter will be subjected to the consent of the ministry.

Mining activities and compulsory facilities will not be charged for the production of construction raw materials to be used for filling purposes in structures such as dams, ponds, ports and roads.

As a result of the termination of mining activities, forest areas that have been handed over to the administration will be abandoned or rehabilitated.

Spaces created by clear-cutting, removing, pruning, strangling vegetation or burning state forests in any way cannot be registered in the land registry on behalf of individuals. These areas will be seized directly by the forest administration.

All structures and facilities confiscated in state forests, including those in the construction phase, will be immediately demolished by the General Directorate of Forestry or can be used in forestry services if needed. All types of property in the burned forest areas will be evaluated by the General Directorate of Forestry.

Claims rejected

Referring to the claims that “animals were sold cheaply” in the earthquake area, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Ebubekir Gizligider said that the General Directorate of Agricultural Enterprises (TIGEM) was coordinating shelter for local livestock and that some of the animals had been transported to Konya.

Gizligider reported that they had already shipped 178,350 tons of fertilizer to the earthquake zones by Feb. 28.

Responding to the criticism that “hundreds of tons of medications were thrown into nature with debris in the earthquake zone,” Zengingider said that at this point, teams from the Ministry of Environment, Urbanization and Climate Change and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry had set aside safe locations for the debris disposal. He said that the investigations are continuing in a controlled manner.

Also touching on the issue of shelter for livestock in the earthquake-hit areas, Gizligider said that as of Thursday, they had sent 6,332 tents to be used as temporary shelters for animals. He added that they plan to eventually use containers to house the livestock and that 16,000 tons of animal feed were sent to the region.

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