Turkish government unveils high grain price

Turkish government unveils high grain price

ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
Turkish government unveils high grain price

The usage of productive seeds in Turkey increased by 36 percent this year, which is reflected in a higher quality, says Agriculture Minister Mehmet Mehdi Eker, who has made the grain prices public. DHA photo

The government’s intervention price for the wheat market has increased to 655 Turkish Liras per ton from last year’s 605 liras per ton, according to Agriculture Minister Mehmet Mehdi Eker.

Wheat production this year is estimated to reach 19.5 million tons, some 2.3 tons lower than last year, while the forecast for barley production stands at 6.5 million tons, Eker said at an Ankara meeting on the issue yesterday.

Turkey distributed 18.7 million tons of last year’s wheat on the domestic market, stocking the remaining 3.1 million tons.

For several reasons, such as low rainfall in April and the cold weather, production in Central Anatolia was particularly poor. “Accordingly, the total grain production is estimated at 19.5 million tons,” Eker said.

Turkey was the world’s top flour exporter last year, and the second largest pasta exporter after Italy, he also said. Exports of processed wheat products made up $1.9 billion, he said.

The harvest also began late this year and about 15 percent has been completed.

The Turkish Grain Board’s (TMO) benchmark price is for red Anatolian bread, which contains between 11.5 percent and 12 percent protein, Eker noted, adding that the figure went higher when a sum of 115 liras of support was included.

Wheat with a higher protein rate may reach 685 liras per ton, as the price for wheat for pasta is fixed at 705 liras, Eker said.

The usage of productive seeds increased by 36 percent this year, which is reflected in a higher quality, he added.

Turkey used to import high quality flour for bread to mix it with 90 percent of low quality domestic flour until 2005. “Today some Middle Eastern producers suggest selling us low quality flour so that we can mix it with domestic products and sell to third parties,” he added.

Early payment date
This year farmers will get payments within 10 days, which is a first, according to Faruk Çöklü, a high ranking official at the Konya Chamber of Agriculture. Konya, a Central Anatolian province, is one of the leading grain growing regions in Turkey.

“Now farmers have a guarantee. They will be able to sell their goods at real prices,” he told Anatolia news agency yesterday. The TMO used to start delivering payments in one month. The rise in official prices is above the inflation rate, as the hike in energy prices is affecting grain producers, he also said.

Lütfi Topbaş, head of the Karatay Chamber of Agriculture, said he was unhappy with the 2012 prices, adding that low quality grain would be bought by the TMO for lower prices.

“Despite recent efforts to raise the quality, weather conditions and other reasons have prevented the attainment of quality standards. Thus, nearly 80 percent of our grain will be bought for low prices, less than 655 liras per ton. Considering the price hikes in fuels and fertilizers, this price is low,” Topbaş said.