Turkey has signed an agriculture cooperation agreement with Sudan, which givesTurkish General Directorate of Agricultural Enterprises and Turkish companiesseveral options to operate in the north African state.According to the deal agreed on Monday, the Turkish General Directorate ofAgricultural Enterprises (TIGEM) and Turkish companies can invest directly inSudan, engage in partnerships with local partners or fund agro-processing and foodproduction projects.Sudan has very large agricultural land and the rainwater is enough for irrigation insome regions of the country, said Turkey’s Food, Agriculture and Livestock Minister,Mehmet Mehdi Eker, at a signing ceremony in the TIGEM conference center in theTurkish capital of Ankara.“The agreement is the first for Turkey. Turkey´s TIGEM and an institution fromSudan will establish a joint-venture company. The company will rent 780,000-hectares of land for the long-term in Sudan. We have already set the land for this.Turkey will help with its technology, mechanization and animal breeding. Thecompany will export its production to the world,” he said. The accord aims to use Sudan´s land resources and export surpluses to Turkey andthe rest of the world to contribute to solving the world’s food shortage beforeanother price hike in food prices, Ibrahim Mahmoud Hamid, Minister of Agricultureof Sudan said.“Food prices in the world have been increasing since the 2008 crisis. Drought inAustralia and the U.S. and tensions in Ukraine will hike food prices again. Sudan hasfertile land with water facilities and Sudan will benefit from this,” said Hamid.'Solid partnership'Badr El-Din Mahmoud Abbas, Minister of Finance and National Economy of Sudan,said the agreement between two countries will encourage more investment in Sudanand will create a solid partnership for further economic corporation between thetwo countries. “After this agreement, Sudan will use more efficiently its natural resources of landand the Sudan government wants Turkish private sectors to invest in Sudan and weare always ready for help,” Abbas said.Before the signing ceremony, Ali Babacan, Turkey’s deputy prime minister in chargeof the economy, received Badr El-Din Mahmoud Abbas, Minister of Finance andNational Economy of the Republic of Sudan, Ibrahim Mahmoud Hamid, Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation Engineer and Abdelrahman Hassan Abdelrahman, theHashim Governor of the Central Bank of Sudan in his office; in the presence of anumber of officials from both parties.According to the Turkish Statistical Institute, trade between the two nations stood atUS$295 million in 2013.Turkey's exports to Sudan were US$268.7 million, while imports from Sudan wereUS$26.3 million.Freshwater dwindlingThe countries also signed a Memorandum of Understanding to set up a free-tradezone for agricultural products and livestock to boost bilateral transactions andagreement for investment protection for private companies.Meanwhile, with the world's population reaching more than 7 billion people, foodprices keep rising every year. Freshwater supplies in plenty of areas are dwindlingand climate change is bringing drought in some regions.Sudan was the largest country in Africa before the cession of South Sudan and lossof one-third of its land and two-thirds of its natural resources, covering almost 1million square miles.Chinese state corporations, well known for their interests in minerals and oil,appear to be one of the more modest "land grabbers" in Africa, operating incountries such as Sudan and Ethiopia.Other countries are India, South Korea, America (Wall Street firms) and several oil-rich, food-poor Arab nations.Land-grabbing has been accelerating ever since a massive surge in grain prices backin 2008.