Potato producers in the Central Anatolian province of Niğde have been struggling to make a profit amid low prices and the rising cost of expenses.
“I have nothing left, just a scooter. The [ruling Justice and Development Party] AKP, who I have voted for since it was founded, has drained our batteries. I don't like the AKP anymore,” said one 70-year-old farmer, who has grown potatoes in Niğde for 45 years.
Niğde produces an average of 800,000 tons of potatoes a year. Producers told main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) deputy Ömer Fethi Gürer that they could not even sell potatoes for 50-60 kuruş a kilo that normally are sold for 1 lira.
Producers also complained that due to a 50 percent increase in the price of fertilizer, pesticide, seed and electricity since last year, they were unable to sell their crops at last year's price.Thousands of farmers in Western Turkey deprived of water for crops amid drought
“Potatoes that you can’t even sell in the field for 50 kuruş are being sold in the markets to the consumer for 3 lira. While you are losing money from the potatoes you produced with a thousand difficulties, the middlemen are profiting off of your backs. The producer doesn’t profit, nor can the consumer purchase at a cheap price,” Gürer said.
“We are revealing the problems experienced by the producers, but we are also offering solutions. However, unfortunately, agricultural problems in our country have become intractable because the AKP constantly shuts its ears.”