Turkish municipalities to start selling vegetables next week
Municipalities will start selling vegetables and fruits next week directly to consumers in an effort to curb the prices of those items while state-owned lender Ziraat will unveil a package designed to support greenhouse farming, Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak has said.
Speaking at an event organized by the Turkish Exporters’ Assembly (TİM), Albayrak identified inflation as one of the vulnerabilities of the Turkish economy and said the government is fighting against inflation with determination.
“We will not allow some to reach out to the pocket of our people. We will take the harshest measures possible against those trying to exploit the situation to charge excessive prices,” he said.
According to the minister, municipalities will offer products at affordable prices in big cities.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan first floated the idea of municipalities selling fruits and vegetables directly to consumers.
According to the latest official data, food prices increased by 6.43 percent in January from a previous month, and the annual increase was 30.7 percent.
Last month, fresh vegetable and fruit prices jumped 29.7 percent on a monthly basis while the annual rise for those items was 64 percent.
“We are taking firm steps in the fight against inflation which has started to decline. Inflation was 20.3 percent at the end of last year which was below our target. 2019 is also promising, but food inflation has had some negative impact. In January, food inflation hit a 20-year high. However, if food inflation had been what it was in December, the headline inflation, in fact, would have declined by 0.43 percent on a monthly basis and the annual inflation would have been 18.85 percent,” Albayrak said.
“Self-seeking behavior is unacceptable. Latest information suggests that something intriguing has been going on [regarding vegetable prices]. We will take necessary measures. Our citizens will see that any problem could be resolved if the state steps in.”
Albayrak also announced that the state-run lender Ziraat Bankasi on Feb. 8 will unveil the details of a package designed to support greenhouse farming.
He said that the bank will provide loans with low interest rates and the Treasury will subsidize those credits.
“With those supports, we will witness the fast transformation [of greenhouse farming]. Geothermal resources will be used in an effective way to that end. The state, which will also play an active role in this field, will become a strategic investor in greenhouse farming,” Albayrak explained.