The chairmen of the grape and cotton unions of the Agriculture Cooperatives Union (TARIS) has announced cotton and grape base prices at a news conference.
The cotton base price was set at TL 380,000 ($0.57) per kilo and the fresh grape base price at TL 500,000 ($0.75) per kilo.
The cotton base price that TARIS announced is much more than the Treasury's base price, expected to be TL 320,000 ($0.48). According to the statement made by the Treasury, the cotton base price would not be more than TL 320,000 ($0.48).
The TARIS cotton union chairman, Mehmet Bakanoglu, said it was the first time TARIS has set the base price instead of the Ministry of Agriculture. TARIS has been given authority by the new Autonomy Law, which can be considered the beginning of a new age. He stated that their buying capacity was 230-250,000 tons but this was not final.
He said: "Cotton to be sold to TARIS would be paid by TARIS in cash. We will try to pay producers in cash as much as possible. We have enough cash so we are not worried about the payment. The cotton base price will rise according to changing conditions."
Pointing out that the government was about to announce the cotton premium as 9 cents per kilo, they would never approve this value, he said: "The cotton premium rate should be at least 20 cents per kilo to match production expenses.
We proposed that the government pay the extra 11 cents next year. Therefore the cotton-producing capacity created by the premium would be increased in 2001, raising its own financial premiums. We will still work on the issue with the relevant producers through to the ready-made sellers."
Bakanoglu said: "Last year the cotton base price rose about 25 percent according to the previous year. This year we raised the prices 49.6 percent above last year's price. The middle-quality cotton, similar to the base cotton, will be purchased at TL 380,000, the floor limit will be TL 348,000 ($0.52) and the ceiling price TL 412.000 ($0.62).
It's estimated that the cotton harvest would be 630.000 tons in the Aegean region.
This year production capacity and cotton quality has dropped by about 30 percent in the Aegean region. This would damage the cotton sector. The government should support the cotton producers. Turkey's annual cotton requirement is 1,200,000 tons, and this year 500-550 tons of cotton will be imported. If the government supports the cotton sector, the inflow of foreign currency will be prevented. The profit from Turkish cotton will increase."
TARIS Grape Union Chairman Ali Riza Turker announced the fresh grape base price as TL 500.000 per kilo ($0.75). Touching on the ineffective policy of the state in the grape sector, Turker said: “The government ignored us. We, as the producers, established the cooperatives to protect ourselves from uncontrolled capitalism. The state should support us, but they sell our world-quality products below the world price. No one, including the deputy ministers, can allege that they supported us. If the state doesn't support us, they will lose $50 million in income every year."
Pointing out that low-quality grapes are imported from Iran illegally and that state-owned TEKEL mixes Iranian grapes with Turkish grapes, he said: "The government should prevent Iranian grapes from passing through the border. These low-quality grapes are combined with about 20,000 tons of Turkish grapes every year." –(Albawaba-MEBG)
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