Turkish government to keep track of vegetable prices
Neşe Karanfil – ANKARA
The Trade Ministry has asked governors in the country’s 81 provinces to keep a close eye on the movements in the prices of vegetables and fruits as the government is increasingly growing uneasy over what it describes as “excessive prices.”
In a communique, the ministry requested local officials to regularly visit supermarkets, street markets, grocery stores and wholesale markets in their cities to keep track of the prices of a number of products over a period of 12 months, including apples, lemons, pepper, tomatoes, carrots, zucchinis, onions, mushroom, cucumbers and potatoes.
Officials will record the prices of vegetables and fruits under three categories: “Markets and grocery stores,” “street markets” and “wholesale markets.” Data to be compiled on a weekly basis will be submitted to the Trade Ministry.
Officials will also identify the spread between businesses pay for those products and the price they ask from consumers. During their inspections, officials will collect data for widely consumed vegetables and fruits.
They will request receipts from businesses showing how much they pay for the products they sell.
In case the officials find out that a business charges excessive prices it will be demanded to give an explanation.
Data and other information collected will be submitted to the directorate general of consumer protection and market surveillance and the directorate of domestic trade.
On a related note, Agriculture Minister Bekir Pakdemirli said on Jan. 30 that current prices are above what they normally should be this season.
The minister urged consumers to compare prices between different supermarkets and do shopping from the store that offers the best price.
“This will help prices stabilize,” he said.
The minister added that companies that charge excessive price on products get fined in any case.
In the face of skyrocketing prices, some supermarket chains have decided to stop selling certain vegetables to avoid confrontation with the government.
Supermarkets take pepper and eggplant – whose prices have risen to 20 Turkish Liras per kilo – off their shelves, but they will continue to offer those products to customers in the well-off areas where people can afford to buy them.