Turkish food gets more expensive in OECD comparison

Food in Turkey is becoming more expensive when compared to the global average.

The price of food in Turkey was 28 percent more than the average across the world in 2015 to 2017 compared with about 20 percent in 2013 to 2015, news website Grihat said, citing a report by the 34-member OECD.

The OECD cites government subsidies for the agricultural sector as the main cause of these food price inefficiencies. While financial support for producers in Mexico and Canada was about $4 billion in 2016, total subsidies in Turkey were $17 billion, Grihat said, citing the report.

Food prices in Turkey are in focus after inflation surged this year. The inflation rate increased to 15.4 percent in June from 12.2 percent in May, meaning it is now about four times higher than the emerging-market average. Food and energy prices have been the biggest contributors.  

Turkey’s farming subsidy system suffers from a lack of planning, according to the OECD. When farmers can’t make money from a product they either feed it to the animals or leave it in the fields. The next year new seeds aren’t planted, production declines, prices increase and then farmers end up selling fruit and vegetables at high prices. It’s a vicious circle that leads to higher and higher prices each year, the OECD said, according to Grihat.