Food prices in Turkey rose by 32 percent in April compared to the same month of the previous year, the Turkish Statistical Institute (TUIK) said on Friday.
TUIK’s data shows that the inflation rate decreased slightly in April compared to March, but the food prices continue to burden households’ pockets as the inflation rate is recorded as the highest in the consumer price index since 2014.
According to TUIK’s report, the other main groups where high annual increases were noted are furnishing and household equipment that increased by 27.64 percent, miscellaneous goods, and services by 27.47 percent, health services by 19.75 percent, and hotels, cafes, and restaurants by 19.58 percent.
The only monthly decrease was 0.30 percent in communication, and the highest monthly increase was 6.77 percent for alcoholic beverages and tobacco. The consumer price index (CPI) increased by 1.69 percent, TUIK reported.
According to TUIK’s April data, the highest increases were recorded in the price of lemons and onions. Lemons increased by 31.9 percent, and onion prices rose by 31.6 percent.
While food prices are soaring, Turkish farmers have had to stop agriculture production over a total land area of 3.4 million hectares. This is due to price hikes in fuel, pesticides, fertilizer, and other costs, Ahmet Atalik from the Istanbul branch of the Chamber of Agriculture Engineers told Deutsche Welle Turkish.
Atalik said that the inflation in agricultural pesticides and fertilizer prices are four times higher than the official inflation rate and this situation has left farmers helpless. Atakli complained that farmers sell onions at the price of 0.7 or 0.8 lira but that it is the middlemen, brokers, and distribution companies, getting the products from the farmers to the consumers, that cause the very high retail prices at greengrocers and markets.
Yuksel Tavsan, chairman of the TURKHAL Turkish federation of wholesale food markets, also complained that agriculture production costs increased by 27.3 percent in March compared to the previous year, and the cost of greenhouse production is too high. Tavsan hopes that food prices will decline this summer season if there are not bad weather conditions.
As the Turkish Lira rapidly loses its value, it has has a direct impact on fuel price increases and high transport costs, and therefore on the fresh produce industry too, the Turkish economist said.