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Turkey eyes African farmlands as own farmers go broke

Turkey plans to lease farmlands in African countries as thousands of its own farmers have gone out of business amid decreased government support and an aggressive construction drive swallowing arable lands.
A Turkish farmer works on his field near the Mursitpinar border crossing on the Turkish-Syrian border in the southeastern town of Suruc in Sanliurfa province November 18, 2014. REUTERS/Osman Orsal (TURKEY - Tags: AGRICULTURE SOCIETY) - RTR4ELK1

When Turkey's husbandry sector plunged into its first big crisis four years ago, the country imported thousands of sheep from France. The imports covered the meat shortage on the Turkish market and reined in the prices, while contributing to French farmers' prosperity. The agriculture minister at the time was awarded a medal of honor by the French government.

But the husbandry sector in Turkey never recovered, and frequent meat shortages continued to be covered with imports. In May, for instance, the government gave the green light for the importation of more than half a million livestock, including buffalo for the first time.

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