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Turkey has allowed potato imports from Syria to curb prices

A look at the current status of the potato fields in Turkey. This is a potato field (seed) in Turkey on June 30, 2018
(Courtesy: Twitter / JV Meijer- İnan tohumculuk; @inanmeijer)

Turkey has allowed limited amounts of potato to be imported from Syria to curb skyrocketing prices, Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci announced on June 27.

Nihat Zeybekci, Turkish Economy Minister:

“We have allowed potato imports from some parts of Syria where Turkey undertakes operations in a very limited amount.”

“Our imports will only be 1 percent of Turkey’s potato demand, which is around 4,000 tons.”

“We import potatoes from Syria in Turkish Liras.This factor has played a key role in pushing down the prices in the domestic market.”
In an effort to curb prices, the Turkish government decided to allow potato and onion imports in certain amounts from some countries.

In Istanbul, the cost of one kilogram of onions rose 212 percent to 6.5 liras ($1.5) over the past month. One kilo of onions was sold for around 1.3 liras last June. Potato prices also rose to 6 liras ($1.4) in June, a 94 percent month-on-month increase. One kilo of potatoes was around 1.5 liras last June.

Officials predict that potato prices, which are around 3 liras as of June 27, will be between 1.5 and 2.5 liras in July as fresh supplies arrive.

Turkey’s Food, Agriculture and Livestock Minister Ahmet Eşref Fakıbaba had said on June 22 that there are “dark hands” behind the dramatic rise in basic food products, including potato, pointing to possible speculation before the June 24 elections.