Turkish farmers in ‘hardest times’ after lira slump - FT

Many of Turkey’s half a million farmers are struggling to make ends meet after last year's collapse of the Turkish lira combined with a jump in global commodity prices to vastly increase costs, the Financial Times reported.

In the region around Antakya, which has been a breadbasket of civilisations, farmers are toiling on their land for little reward, the FT's Laura Pitel reported on Wednesday. “This is the hardest time I’ve seen,” said Mehmet Muzaffer Okay, who heads Antakya’s chamber of agriculture. He has worked at the chamber for three decades.

Agriculture provides around 7 percent of Turkey’s gross domestic product and Hatay, where Antakya is located, is a top producer of many staple foods including oranges and parsley. But rising costs and growing indebtedness are taking their toll on businesses, Okay said.

“Their resistance is wearing thin,” he said.

Official data shows that Turkish food prices surged by an annual 70 percent in March. April figures, due on Thursday, are expected to show that overall consumer price inflation accelerated to about 68 percent from 61.1 percent the previous month, a two-decade high, according to a Reuters poll of economists last week. Price increases may slow to only 50 percent by the year-end, Reuters said.

Farmer Mahmut Çam said that a year ago it cost him around 3,000 liras to fill up his five tractors with diesel. Now the price has risen to 13,000 liras. He says there has also been a fourfold rise in the cost of fertiliser and pesticides.

“When these things are cheap, we can sell our products at a cheap price and our people can have affordable food,” Çam said. “When they are expensive, production will be lower and food will be more pricey.” 

This block is broken or missing. You may be missing content or you might need to enable the original module.