The Republic of Turkey is the Country Coordinator for the Working Group on Agriculture and Agro-Industry for the period of 1 January 2017 - 31 December 2018.
• Agriculture and Agro-Industry is one of the areas of cooperation within BSEC. The Working Group on Agriculture and Agro-industry (WGAAI) deals with this topic.
• The vast agricultural potential of the Black Sea region and the wide ranging prospects it offers for agro-industry business are the principal reasons behind the establishment of the Working Group.
• The Working Group considered and endorsed the Priorities for the second medium-term (2016-2018) of the implementation of the “BSEC Economic Agenda 2012” under Goal 6: Food Security and Safety, namely:
- Improving sustainable rural productivity and enhancing the international competitiveness of the Member States in food and agricultural products, in particular through: facilitating the access to new technologies and know-how, scaling up managerial innovations and harmonization and adoption of quality standards for products.
- Promoting exchange of information, experience and best practices among the competent authorities, national reference laboratories, agrarian research and education institutions and the private sector enterprises in the fields of agriculture, agro-industry and food safety in the Member States.
- Promoting the effective and sustainable use of land resources for the agricultural production in the BSEC Member States.
- Promoting regional cooperation for the sustainable management of fishery resources.
• In 2011, for the first time, a Meeting of the Ministers of Agriculture of the BSEC Member States was held in Moscow in October 2011and adopted the Joint Declaration.
• Main provisions of the Joint Declaration:
- cooperation in the field of food safety among relevant institutions and accredited laboratories of the BSEC Member States.
- assessment of the prospects for optimization of cooperation in vine production sphere between the BSEC Member States.
- cooperation in selection, reproduction and protection of plants, further enhancement of cooperation among agrarian research and educations institutions.
- elaboration of efficient measures of control and surveillance for the fishing in the boundary-neighbouring aquatories.
• BSEC’s activities in the field of agriculture and Agro-Industry are specified in the “BSEC Economic Agenda”, a strategic document approved by the BSEC Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs and endorsed by the Heads of State and Government, They include :
- intensifying cooperation among the Ministries in charge of Agriculture to increase intra-regional trade in agricultural products;
- improving sustainable rural productivity and enhancing the international competitiveness of the Member States in food and agricultural products;
- harmonizing labeling standards;
- promoting exchange of information, experience and best practices;
- promoting the effective and sustainable use of land resources for the agricultural production;
- improving the availability of financial services and credits to farmers and processors, as well as developing appropriate insurance systems against risks in agricultural production;
-strengthening cooperation in the vine-growing and wine-making sectors, promoting cooperation among the national genetic banks of plants of the Member States to secure biodiversity;
- simplifying customs formalities and reducing waiting times at the border crossing points, particularly for fresh fruits and vegetables;
- exploring possibilities to reduce the gap between production prices and consumer prices;
- ensuring increased food production, price stabilization as well as adequate agricultural income;
- promoting regional cooperation for the sustainable management of fishery resources;
- strengthening cooperation among the reference laboratories, veterinary services and disease control agencies of the Member States;
- enhancing dialogue on bio-technology methods, taking into consideration the issue of genetically modified food products and radiation control of food;
- exchanging experience and best practices regarding the sustainable forest management.
• Parliamentary Assembly of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (PABSEC) has also been addressing topics related to agriculture.
• PABSEC has issued Reports and Recommendations for its Member Parliaments on “Food security in the BSEC Member States” (2010), the “Use of genetically modified organisms (GMO) in the BSEC Countries: Economic and Environmental Aspects” (2011), “State and prospects of fisheries in the BSEC Member States” (2014) etc..
Cooperation with FAO
BSEC participated at the FAO-BSEC Business Council High Level Forum: “Engaging Private Sector in Agri-food Chain Development”, organized in Baku, on 20 February 2014, which underlined the possibilities of increasing cooperation on a very topical area for us, i.e. the involvement of the private sector. Also the Secretary General of BSEC PERMIS attended the 30th Session of the FAO Regional Conference for Europe (ERC), held in Antalya, Turkey, on 4-6 May 2016. On the sidelines of the Conference, the PERMIS Secretary General was received for a bilateral discussion by the Director General of FAO, H.E. Mr. Jose Graziano da SILVA, with whom he agreed to promote the elaboration of the text of a mutually acceptable draft MoU, concerning concrete ways of cooperation between the two Organizations.
During the period of January-June 2017 the Turkish Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock is palnning to organise the meeting of the Working Group on Agriculture and Agro-industry on 28-29 March 2017 and the meeting of the Ministers of Agriculture on 16-17 May 2017.