The economic crisis, together with recent floods and tornadoes that hit the biggest vegetable-producing city of Antalya (southern Turkish province, 727 km from İstanbul) caused vegetable prices to increase.
People who are battling to make ends meet have been hit with excessive price hikes, which is the result of producers being affected by heavy damage to their greenhouses. According to statistics, greenhouse cultivation makes up 200 thousand acres in Turkey (one acre is equal to 4,000 square meters).
Commenting on the uncontrollable price hikes of vegetables, Commission Merchants’ Foundation of Antalya Vegetable Market Chairman, Nevzat Akçan, said, “There are no low-priced fruit and vegetables left.
The reason for this is not because of exports or selling the products to the domestic market, but completely due to weather conditions.”
According to the figures of the Directorate of Agriculture, around 26,000 acres of agricultural land was damaged as a result of the storms and tornadoes that hit the province of Nevzat.
Akçan emphasised that while 22,000 acres of the above-mentioned land are open areas where citrus trees and winter vegetables are cultivated, the remaining 3,250 acres are greenhouses.
Akçan: Price of products to increase
Because of the weather conditions, Akçan said the state of the vegetable market will be seen as an expensive product. “At the moment, just 10 percent of products are entering the Antalya Vegetable Market compared to November. Our shops are empty. It is impossible to find low-priced products,” added Akçan. He also stated that it will be difficult to find products until May and said that nobody should be surprised that the prices will increase.
Antalya tornado caused severe damage
The tornado and heavy rains that hit the Turkish city of Antalya on Sunday injured dozens of people, overturned buses and damaged airplanes at the airport. Officials have warned of more bad weather. Environment Minister Murat Kurum said 315 buildings had been damaged in the province because of bad weather.
During a rally in Antalya, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the material damage had reached nearly 100 million Turkish Liras ($19 million; €16.6 million). Recovery efforts began after three days of heavy rain where the rare tornado wreaked havoc in the Kumluca, Kemer and Finike districts in the southern parts of the city. Farmlands and residential areas were both affected.
Thousands of acres of cultivated areas in other Turkish provinces also hit by rain
Besides Antalya, other Turkish provinces, including İzmir, Muğla, Mersin and Adana have also been hit by heavy rains, which caused severe damage in the cultivated areas. These regions and known as the vegetable centres of the country that export billions of dollars’ worth of vegetable products, mainly to Europe, Russia and other countries.
Turkey is self-sufficient only in sugar production – FAO and OECD
In addition to the above-mentioned causes of price hikes, it is believed that incorrect agriculture policies of the ruling AK Party dealt a heavy blow to agriculture products of the country.
Turkey has become a foreign dependent country on agricultural crops. This is according to the 2018 figures of the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD), and UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The figures show that only sugar production in Turkey surpasses consumption.
In a report that was published by FAO and OECD, it showed that, like the previous year, the production amount of wheat, corn and rice cannot meet the consumption demand in Turkey. An increase in the production of wheat, which is the most consumed agricultural product, in 2018, is behind the increase in consumption.
Import figures in Turkey are higher than export figures (including sugar, where production meets consumption).