Tomato farmers in Karacabey and Mustafakemalpaşa districts of Bursa province, where the 40 percent of tomato production is made, have come to the brink of bankruptcy.
70 percent of tomato paste factories across Turkey is situated only in these two districts. However, the farmers who intensified their tomato planting, in the face of the unilateral pricing policies of the factories, were in a difficult situation. Farmers are selling below their costs due to the decrease in tomato prices up to 35 kurush.
In the face of this situation, farmers are now waiting for the law that will protect them to be implemented as soon as possible. Mehmet Aydemir, President of Mustafakemalpaşa Chamber of Agriculture, said, “I will do my best to avoid planting tomatoes next year.” Mehmet Aydemir addressed the authorities in his statements, underlining that tomato prices have dropped to the lowest levels and tomato paste factories are being opportunistic.
Aydemir explained, “This year, our farmers planted more tomatoes than maize. Planting started, but diseases arose due to climatic conditions and rainfall. Some of the tomatoes were burned due to diseases. There was a loss of 40 percent of yield. Due to diseases, the pesticide costs of farmers doubled. Meanwhile fear began among paste factories because of disases and burns.”
Aydemir continued as follows, “We have stood with tomato paste factories so far, but in these days we have hard times because of the pandemic. We will no longer give the opportunity to these factories those buyin at a low price enough to hurt farmers. If we ignore their opportunism, our farmer will not have the capital to farm next year.”
“This crisis will seriously affect all Turkey and the agricultural sector. If this process continues in this way and the farmer is left unattended, the farmers will go bankrupt and tomato production will stop,” Aydemir added…