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Turkey’s farmers call for urgent support as food alarm grows

Turkey’s agricultural producers are grappling with exorbitant cost increases that threaten further blows to the country’s food production amid an already galloping inflation.
Workers collect onions during the harvest on a farm, in the Polatli district of Ankara on Aug. 6, 2019.

POLATLI, Turkey — Spring is in full swing in the sprawling, fertile fields of Polatli, not far from Turkey’s capital, Ankara. But the bright sky and the riot of green belie the gloom of local farmers as they grapple with skyrocketing costs that have forced many to leave their croplands unsown.

Polatli has been one of Turkey’s main onion-producing and exporting regions for years. But it might fail to live up to its potential this year. Murat Bircan, a local farmer, said his production cost had soared by more than 300%, reaching 2.5 Turkish liras per kilogram of onion, up from 0.6 liras last year. “I’ve reduced fertilizers by a fourth compared to last year. I used to plow the land twice; now I do it once. Naturally, all this will affect the produce,” Bircan told Al-Monitor.

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