Agriculture sector sounds the alarm in Antalya amid Russia crisis
ANTALYA - Doğan News Agency
DHA PhotoAgricultural activities in western Antalya province have almost ground to a halt, due to ongoing problems in exports over the last couple of years being exacerbated by the jet crisis between Turkey and Russia, local sector players have warned.
The region’s economic life is based on agricultural products, mainly fresh fruits and vegetables, and agricultural income has been higher than tourism income on the western side of the Mediterranean resort of Antalya, which extends through the province’s Kumluca, Finike, Demre and Kaş districts.
Kumluca Chamber of Trade and Commerce head Murat Hüdavendigar Günay said the problems in Turkey’s neighboring countries had already hit the sector over the last couple of years, but things have worsened since the jet crisis erupted between Turkey and Russia last November.
“While agricultural output is limited, prices are high now due to seasonal effects. We unfortunately expect huge problems in the sector in the coming days and months. Farmers are producing upon agricultural loans. Besides, they receive cash from the intermediaries in the preseason period then repay this as agricultural products at the end of the season… As farmers will not find markets to sell their products, we will see collateral damage across all sector players,” he said.
He noted the region’s agricultural products are only transported on trucks and this method has hindered the market share.
“Our main export markets are Ukraine, Romania and Bulgaria. We also export goods to Germany, Israel, Belarus and Georgia in smaller amounts. In order to be able to increase our market share and to become more competitive, we need to reach lively and luxurious markets in distant regions, which use air transportation quite effectively,” Günay added.
He called for the government to take measures to thwart further losses in the sector, such as easing loan payments or cutting loan rates.
“As has been the case for the tourism sector, we also expect the issuance of a comprehensive support package for our sector,” Günay noted.
Russia began to impose a raft of economic and trade sanctions against Turkey after the jet crisis erupted, mainly in agricultural products.
Turkish Agriculture Minister Faruk Çelik said the losses from Russian sanctions on Turkey’s agricultural products are estimated to be around $764 million.