HATAY - Anatolia News Agency
Turkish farmers are regularly paying their debt to the state-run lender Ziraaat Bank mainly thanks to low interest rates, Agriculture Minister Mehdi Eker says.
Agricultural loan repayments reached 99 percent in 2011 due mainly to low interest rates, according to Agriculture Minister Mehdi Eker.
“The largest factors in the success of loan repayments are the economic packets and loan interest rates.
This situation is true for all of Turkey, but in Hatay this is even truer,” said Eker, speaking at the Hatay Province Agriculture and Rural Development Strategic Plan presentation in the province of Hatay in southern Turkey.
Eker explained that in 2002 Turkey’s state agriculture bank Ziraat was able to collect 38 percent of loan repayment from farmers in Hatay. In other words, for every 100 Turkish Liras in loans lent to the farmers, Zirrat would only receive 38 liras in repayment. In 2002, Ziraat Bank provided 9.4 million liras in loans to Hatay’s famers.
“In 2011 Hatay’s farmers received 329 million liras in loans and Ziraat’s loan repayments reached 99 percent the same year,” he said.
Hatay Governor Mehmet Celattin Lekesiz, who also spoke at the ceremony on June 16, said that their goal was to make Hatay the Middle East’s agriculture and trade center.
Hatay exported nearly $800 million worth of agricultural products in 2011, according to the Turkish Exporters’ Union (TİM) data. In 2002, Hatay produced 568,000 tons of fruit and this number has reached 891,000 in 2011, said Eker.