Mar 26 2019

Turkish supermarkets to sell cheap fruits and vegetables - minister

Turkish Agriculture and Forestry Minister Bekir Pakdemirli said on Tuesday that some supermarket chains in the country are starting to sell fruit and vegetables at the same discounted prices as government-run food stalls, Turkish news site Gazete Duvar reported.

Pakdemirli said the ministry agreed to allow five supermarket chains to provide low-priced fruit and vegetables for Turkish consumers. The sixteen-thousand shops of the domestic chains will start selling cheap fruits and vegetables as soon as they receive their produce shipments from the government supplier, the Agricultural Credit Cooperatives of Turkey, said the minister.

The move comes days before Turkey’s March 31 local election, when voters will select local administrators in 81 cities.

Since last month, the Turkish government has been selling cheap fruit and vegetables in city squares from Istanbul to southeastern Gaziantep in an attempt to help slow inflation.

Turkish food inflation surged by 31 percent annually in January, preventing a slowdown in overall consumer price inflation, which edged up to 20.4 percent last month. That prompted the government, facing nationwide local elections, to open the stores, which charge lower prices but put limit purchases.

While the price of produce at the special municipality-run stores does not count toward official inflation data, supermarkets are following the government’s lead, slashing prices on key products, according to Bloomberg.

In the first week of the government’s campaign for cheap food, more than 3,200 tonnes of vegetables were sold in Turkey’s two biggest cities, Istanbul and Ankara.