Vegetable prices up 40 percent in Ankara in 2019 - report

Vegetable prices in the Turkish capital of Ankara increased 40.11 percent in the first three months of the year, according to a report by Turkey's biggest trade union confederation, Diken news reported on Wednesday.

Türk-Iş said food prices in Ankara fell 0.73 percent in March, while increasing 21.13 percent on a year-on-year basis. 

Meanwhile, vegetable prices increased 6.28 percent in March, with the average per kilogram price of vegetables increasing from 7.33 lira ($1.3) to 7.79 lira ($1.4) in one month, the Türk-Iş report said. 

According to the report, the basic expenditures of an average four-member household increased to 6,560 lira ($1,200), while the monthly spending estimate for a four-member to get sufficient nutrition, known as the hunger threshold, stayed at 2,014 lira ($369)

Turkish food inflation surged by 31 percent annually in January, preventing a slowdown in overall consumer price inflation, which edged up to 20.4 percent last month. The Turkish government has opened stores in places like Ankara and Istanbul to sell vegetables and fruits at prices lower than market rates, as the country will choose local leaders in elections this Sunday. 

Turkish authorities have launched investigations into supermarket chains over claims of overpricing, and the police raided warehouses in different parts of the country suspected of stockpiling onions and potatoes to curb soaring inflation.

Large supermarket chains, facing regulatory investigations, have dropped prices on staples such as onions and potatoes, posting signs that claim they are selling them at a loss, and have set limits on how much customers can buy at one time.

The Turkish Agriculture and Forestry Minister Bekir Pakdemirli announced on Tuesday that five supermarket chains would provide Turkish customers low-priced fruit and vegetables to be supplied by the Agricultural Credit Cooperatives of Turkey.