Mehmet Kerman, the owner of a rice mill in Edirne's İpsala district, has attempted to allay concerns over the price of several cereals, particularly rice, noting that İpsala paddies yield about one-third of the country's total rice production, Today's Zaman reported.
"Rice stocks are at sufficient levels. Our stores are chock-full of rice," he told the Anatolia news agency. Kerman attributed the escalating rice prices in Turkey to the overall rise in foodstuff prices and the interruption of imports from some countries. Recalling that rice cost YTL 800/ton 45 days ago, Kerman said: "Today, it sells at YTL 1,600 per ton.
The mills that process rice from paddies sell at a wholesale price of YTL 2,700 per ton. However demand is currently falling." He indicated that in the past rice was imported from the US, Italy, Egypt, Pakistan and Vietnam but that today there was an interruption in these imports due to a lack of sufficient production in those places. Despite this, Turkey has sufficient stocks of local rice, he said.
"Turkey uses state-of-the-art technology in rice production. Local producers are quite interested in rice prices; the current price level is actually what rice producers have been expecting. However the price increases came at a time after producers sold most of their stocks," he explained.
Necmi Sezer, the owner of another rice mill in the same district and a rice producer, noted that inputs in rice production had increased 100 percent. Also speaking to Anatolia, he suggested that rice prices were at the expected level and that in the event prices did not fall, the government would announce a procurement price of more than YTL 1, sufficient to satisfy producers.
Rising prices lead people to rush to marketplaces
The escalating prices of dairy products, dried beans, bulgur (dried, crushed wheat) and rice, generally attributed to global warming, have taken their heaviest toll on low-income families in the last year. Global rice prices have risen by 68 percent while in Turkey rice has seen a 130 percent price increase in just three months. Price increases are also being seen in bulgur.
The Konya Chamber of Commerce has issued a report on these prices increases in the last one year. According to this report the biggest increase was seen in the price of bulgur, with 155 percent. Bulgur was followed by red lentils with 100 percent, haricot beans with 68 percent, green lentils with 67 percent and pasta with 41 percent. As for dairy products, the price of milk has increased by 56 percent while that of yogurt and white cheese have increased by 49 percent and 70 percent, respectively.
Low-income families have suffered the heaviest blow from the rising prices. These families are trying to find ways to alleviate the effects of price increases.
Call to boycott rice
Federation of Consumer Associations (TÜDEF) President Ali Çetin noted that while no reaction had been voiced concerning bread prices, calls had been made to boycott price increases of rice. "The representatives of the sellers who have increased prices band together and call on consumers to boycott price increases. This is a case of irony which you can find only in Turkey," he said.
The Consumers Association (TÜDER), pointing out that the escalating prices of wheat would bear a negative impact on consumers, maintained that the new harvest would not be able to lower prices. In a written statement TÜDER argued that price increases for bread and cereals -- attributable to global warming, drought and low yield -- adversely affect consumers.
The role of the Soil Products Office (TMO) is to regulate the market in order to prevent speculative price increases, it noted. "However, during the last four to five years the TMO has abrogated this duty. It does not make big purchases from the market. They hire their stores to the private business," it added.
Last Mod: 17 Nisan 2008, 15:24