‘Food’ warning from the farmer
The importance of the agricultural sector is being understood more and more every day. In particular, this awareness of the global Covid-19 epidemic process and the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war is increasing. On the other hand, the agricultural policies implemented in Turkey caused this sector to shrink, while also causing a large food inflation. Sector representatives who made a statement due to May 14 World Farmers Day also drew attention to such problems.
Emphasizing that the farmer continues to produce selflessly despite the rapidly rising input costs and increasing frequency of natural disasters, Şemsi Bayraktar, Chairman of the Union of Chambers of Agriculture of Turkey (TZOB), continued as follows, referring to the most recent earthquake disaster:
“In this process, the importance of agriculture and our farmers has been understood much better. If the agriculture and food industry stops, life stops. Agriculture means food security. For this, we have to support our farmers. There is a need for state policies that put the farmer in the center. Government policies to be implemented in the agricultural sector should not change according to changing governments and ministers, but should be permanent.
Bayraktar’s current demands on farmers are as follows:
- The wheat producer is waiting for the intervention purchase price to be announced. The price increase should not be below the inflation rate. Our wheat producers want to be compensated for their production expenses, labor and sweat.
- Since it is understood from experience that importing is not a solution, the sustainability of milk production should be ensured by keeping milk feed parity around 1.5. SSI premiums should be reduced to a more reasonable and payable level.
“INEQUALITY HAS INSIDE”
The Agricultural and Food Ethics Association (TARGET) Board of Directors described the main phenomenon at the root of the problems as follows: “Today, food has been turned into any commodity, transnational giants control our food to a large extent, the global agriculture and food system deepens inequalities, exploits labor, destroys nature and drags family businesses out of the scene.”
Stating that the number of registered farmers, which was around 3 million at the beginning of the 2000s, has decreased to 2 million today, TARGET also made the following reminder: “Today, the average age of people living in rural areas has reached 56. The agricultural sector, which still provides about 18 percent of the country’s employment, can receive a share of around 5 percent from the national income. Another reading of this sad situation is that the Turkish farmer receives one-third of the national income of a normal citizen.”