Turkish farmers call for urgent steps to prop up beef production
Turkey’s top farming organization has warned of an ongoing decline in red meat production, a key factor in surging prices, and called for urgent measures to prop up production including cash incentives for cattle breeding.
Red meat production regressed to 794,417 tons in the first nine months of the year with an 11.2 percent year-on-year fall, official data showed on Nov. 13.
Following the release of the data, the head of the Agriculturalists Association of Turkey (TZOB) said an ongoing decline in cattle production had played a crucial role.
“Turkey’s sheep production and goat production rose by 10.2 percent and 14 percent respectively in the first nine months of the year compared to the same period of 2016. Even buffalo production saw a 330 percent year-on-year increase in the mentioned period. However, Turkey’s cattle production has fallen rapidly in 2017, with the third quarter seeing a 29.4 percent year-on-year decrease,” TZOB head Şemsi Bayraktar said in a statement.
To address this plunge in cattle production, Bayraktar called for urgent incentives to be offered to farmers in order to slash high red meat prices, rather than focusing mainly on import-based policies.
“Urgent measures are needed to support our farmers. A 1,000 Turkish Lira subsidy must be offered to producers per breeding cattle. This sort of incentive will fuel red meat production as well. Unless such measures are taken, Turkey will continue to pay billions of dollars to import beef and feeder or breeding cattle, after it paid $5 billion for such imports in the 2010-2016 period,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Meat and Milk Board (ESK) signed a deal early in November to sell cheaper red meat to two supermarket chains, A101 and BİM, in a bid to ease rising meat prices in Turkey.
With the cabinet decision published on May 3, 2016, a zero percent custom tax was implemented to government-affiliated bodies of the General Directorate of Agricultural Establishments (TIGEM) and the ESK for imports of breeding and feeder cattle.