Turkish trade ministry to combat food price inflation - Sabah

The Turkish government is taking measures to prevent a repeat of sharp food price rises that earlier this year left thousands of Turks queuing for subsidised fruit and vegetables, Turkish daily Sabah reported on Monday.

The measures include hikes to customs tariffs on imported sunflowers for making oil and the creation of committees to monitor the supply and demand of various food products, Sabah said.

A currency crisis struck in summer 2018, slashing the lira’s value by nearly 30 percent against the dollar by the year’s end. This was accompanied by soaring inflation that peaked at more than 25 percent in October 2018, leaving many staple foods prohibitively expensive over the winter.

Sabah, a newspaper with close links to Turkish Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak, followed the government’s lead by blaming the price inflation on speculative traders.

This year the government has raised customs tariffs on imported sunflowers from 20 percent to 27 percent to encourage domestic production, Sabah said. The hike, which follows another 7 percent hike to tariffs announced in July, will be in effect until February.

The government has also set up food committees to monitor meat, fruit and vegetable prices and the effects that supply and demand, the foreign trade balance and supply and distribution chains have on them, Sabah said.

The newspaper quoted Turkey’s Trade Ministry as saying these measures would lower food prices by 45 percent.