As part of government efforts to curb food inflation, legume products such as lentils and chickpeas will now be sold at stalls set up by the Ankara Municipality, Agriculture and Forestry Minister Bekir Pakdemirli said on Feb. 26.
“Chickpeas are sold at 5.5 Turkish Liras per kilogram, while the price of lentils is 4.5 liras per kilogram. Next week, rice will also be offered to consumers through municipalities and its price will be 6 liras per kilogram,” said Pakdemirli, adding that the prices of those products are twice higher in the market.
The municipalities in Istanbul and Ankara launched the sale of cheaper fruits and vegetables in early February.
“Vegetable and fruit sales at municipalities’ stalls may continue for another 15-20 days. After that, sales will depend on demand,” Pakdemirli added.
In a speech he delivered on Feb. 11, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said that municipalities would also sell cleaning products and many other items found in supermarkets directly to shoppers at lower prices.
Erdoğan complained that some circles have been “terrorizing the food industry” by hiking vegetable and fruit prices excessively.
The government is taking the necessity steps to curb the fluctuations in food prices, Pakdemirli also said.
“Thus, we will manage to minimize food price fluctuations,” he stated.
According to latest data from the Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK), annual inflation in food and non-alcoholic beverages stood at 30.97 percent. Last year, the lowest annual increase in food and non-alcoholic beverages was posted in January with 8.76 percent while the highest was registered in October, rising by 29.26 percent.
Turkish agro-operators have suffered from floods hitting greenhouse fields in country’s southern part over the last couple of months.
“We target to double the greenhouse farming fields. If we can do this, we will be able to minimize the fluctuations in food prices,” he said.
“I believe, as a result of the sales of cheaper products through municipalities, the prices of products sold at street markets and supermarkets have declined by 40-50 percent. From this point of view, this has been a success. We have achieved our target,” Pakdemirli added.
On the meat sales in Turkey, the minister said the stocks are enough to meet the demand.
Meat import is not on the agenda in the short term, he said, “If need be, we can import meat.”