Turkish corn producers face big losses as board fails to set price
Burak Coşan - ISTANBUL
CİHAN photoTurkey’s corn producers have been forced to sell off their produce at a loss after the Turkish Grain Board (TMO) failed to set prices for a ton of corn on time in a move that is likely to benefit middlemen once more.
The TMO is now expected to offer 720-730 liras per ton, setting the ground for big gains for merchants at the expense of farmers, who have been forced to sell off parts of their harvest at 640 liras a ton just in order to divest themselves of their produce, even though the cost of production is 670 liras. The same was seen in the sector last year as well, with farmers being forced to sell a ton of corn at 680 liras, only for the TMO to subsequently announce the unit price at 720 liras.
“We have seen the same thing this year. Farmers have faced huge difficulties as the TMO has not revealed the unit prices. Now they need to sell their products for nothing to merchants,” said the head of the Adana branch of the Turkish Agriculturists’ Association (TZD), Kadir Özlem.
Merchants use a registration system for farmers to sell corn to the TMO, according to another sector representative.
“This is the farmers’ mistake. They allow the merchants to abuse their own rights. The farmers have, however, nothing to do as they need to sell their yields to be able to repay their debts. We believe some big players have pushed the TMO to delay its unit price announcement. This hits the farmers,” said the head of the Seyhan branch of the Turkish Agricultural Chambers Union (TZOB), Süleyman Girmen.
He noted that around 6.5 million tons of corn yield production is expected this year.
“Even if the TMO adds just the inflation difference, the unit price needs to be around 720-730 liras this year.
This means farmers’ losses will be around 350 million liras as they needed to sell their yields at much cheaper prices to merchants,” Girmen added.
He said the TMO did not to do what it needed to do, leaving the entire market only to merchants, whose aim is to buy corn at a cheaper price and sell it at higher prices.
TZD head İbrahim Yetkin said such acts was prompting many farmers to quit producing corn because they cannot pay their debts.