Main opposition CHP head proposes six-point solution package to solve Turkey’s hazelnut crisis
GİRESUNMain opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu on Sept. 20 announced a six-article solution package to address the problems of Turkey’s struggling hazelnut producers.
Kılıçdaroğlu was speaking at a rally in the Black Sea province of Giresun, where several party figures accompanied by hazelnut producers and supporters had arrived after a two-day march from the neighboring province of Ordu, in protest at low hazelnut prices announced by the government.
The CHP head vowed to solve “within two years” what he described as problems in the hazelnuts sector that have been unresolved over 15 years of Justice and Development Party (AKP) rule.
Kılıçdaroğlu urged the importance of reforming the hazelnut co-operative FİSKOBİRLİK into a “glorious institution” fit for the 21st century and “free of politics.” In line with this idea, purchase and hazelnut exports would be conducted from FİSKOBİRLİK.
He also said a new “hazelnut law,” agreed with a common will, should be issued to replace the current one, while a hazelnut research and development center should be established to provide additional hazelnut products.
Kılıçdaroğlu proposed establishing a hazelnut expertise bourse in the region in order to better determine hazelnut prices in Turkey, while he also pledged to improve hazelnut cultivation areas in the region. In line with the latter, the CHP leader said all hazelnut trees in the region should be rejuvenated without lowering the income of producers.
The rally took place amid protests from local hazelnut producers amid low government-determined prices, plunging the sector into crisis.
Food, Agriculture, and Livestock Minister Ahmet Eşref Fakıbaba had earlier announced that the Turkish Grain Board (TMO) would purchase the Giresun-quality hazelnut - fat hazelnuts grown in the province - for 10.5 liras and the Levant-quality hazelnut - grown in regions other than Giresun - for 10 liras.
The purchase price for the product fell some 5 liras short of what the producers had expected.
As the world’s biggest hazelnut supplier, Turkey accounts for approximately 75 percent of worldwide hazelnut production.
The country earns revenues of nearly $2 billion from exports of nuts on a yearly basis.