Armağan Kabaklı / DUVAR
Turkey's wheat fields have shrunk by 27 percent in the past 15 years, as the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has increased agricultural imports to record levels, according to data from the Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK).
The government imported 1 billion dollars of fertilizer in the first 11 months of 2020, along with 9 billion dollars of cattle and 3 billion dollars of forestry goods, while the revenue from a kilo of wheat dropped to the equivalent of 0.16 liters of fuel.
"Wheat fields decreased by 24.5 million decares in the past 15 years. The restriction of land, the primary capital in agricultural production, inevitably limits production," said Cahit İncefikir, board member of southern Seyhan's agricultural chamber.
Turkey broke records of agricultural imports during the pandemic in an effort to keep prices down in light of low supply, while the rest of the world was focusing on reinforcing food production, İncefikir added.
"All developed countries create policies to subsidize farming to ensure sustainable production and increase farmers' income levels," İncefikir noted.
Farmers also suffer from a total of 142 billion liras in loans from both private and public banks, as well as farm cooperatives, İncefikir said.
"The total is even more than 180 billion liras when you add debts for grains, fuel, electricity, and water. We are dependent on other countries for farming capital like we are with the products."