FURKAN – Turkish food union warns against food speculation

Turkish food union warns against food speculationFederation of Turkish Food and Drink Industry Associations (TGDF) President Iemsi Topuz said on Wednesday that speculation about and the stockpiling of food products have begun to harm consumers, producers and industrialists to an unbearable point and he has called for inspector controls.At a press conference in Istanbul focused on the recent price increases in products such as wheat, hazelnuts and pistachios, Topuz emphasized the urgent need for governmental controls over speculation of these products.

He claimed that the underlying factor behind price increases is — in addition to losses on harvest stemming from changing climate conditions — the stockpiling of food products for better sales.Mentioning last yearand#39s harvest and market price for hazelnuts, he said prices have since increased 75 percent.

Comparing last year prices, he admitted the climate is partially to blame for undesirable market conditions however, he focused more on the speculation and stockpiling of food products. Turkey has sustained a period of drought since the end of 2013 that at times coincided with frost, which resulted in extremely disappointing yields for Turkish farmers.

The inflation rate has risen to levels higher than anticipated due to the surge in prices. Dozens of fruits, vegetables and nuts have rapidly increased in price in recent months.

Emphasizing that the TGDF is the biggest nongovernmental organization (NGO) in the food and drink sector, Topuz urged governmental bodies to take proactive measures. He stated that the federation had negotiated these sectoral problems with authorities before and added that since the elections have passed, now is the time to shift the agenda towards such issues.

Responding to questions from journalists, Topuz said industry-related issues can be overcome by integration between the industrial and agricultural sectors, a process that has yet to unfold in Turkey.Topuz also underlined the importance of the newly emerging export opportunity to Russia due to the Russian ban on EU and US food imports: andldquoTurkey had been exporting goods in the 1980s to Russia in greater quantities than today however, some Turkish companies created a bad image exporting low-quality goods and this resulted in indirect barriers to Turkey,andrdquo he said.

Russia banned imports from Western countries following various sanctions imposed on the country for annexing Crimea and supporting Ukrainian separatists allegedly responsible for the downing of a Malaysia Airlines aircraft last month.He added that it will not take a long time for certain European companies to change the certificate of origin of their products with Turkish certificates in order to overcome the Russian import ban.

Observers warned that foreign producersand#39 trying to access Russian markets with a fake andldquomade in Turkeyandrdquo label on products will definitely harm Turkish exportersand#39 image.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman