Turkish cotton farmers enraged by undisclosed support premiums

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Cotton cultivators have expressed worry over the undisclosed support premiums for their crop while the amounts for all other crop cultivators were announced in early April. The government declaration noted that the support premiums for cotton would be determined ‘according to the course of global cotton prices’

Speaking to the Doğan news agency, or DHA, at a press meeting Işınsu Kestelli, the chairman of the commodity exchange in the Aegean province of İzmir, National Cotton Council Chairman Barış Kocagöz and Tariş Cotton and Oil Seeds Union Chairman Beliğ Azbazdar said the amount of the support premium should be at least 0.50 liras per kilogram. DHA photo

Speaking to the Doğan news agency, or DHA, at a press meeting Işınsu Kestelli, the chairman of the commodity exchange in the Aegean province of İzmir, National Cotton Council Chairman Barış Kocagöz and Tariş Cotton and Oil Seeds Union Chairman Beliğ Azbazdar said the amount of the support premium should be at least 0.50 liras per kilogram. DHA photo

Cotton cultivators are expressing disappointment and worries over the undisclosed support premiums for the crop while the amounts for all the other crop cultivators were announced in early April. The government declaration noted that the support premiums for cotton would be determined “according o the course of the global cotton prices.”

The cultivators are worried about the possibility that the undisclosed premiums might mean a decrease in the amount of cultivation.

Speaking to the Doğan news agency, or DHA, at a press meeting Işınsu Kestelli, the chairman of the commodity exchange in the Aegean province of İzmir, National Cotton Council Chairman Barış Kocagöz and Tariş Cotton and Oil Seeds Union Chairman Beliğ Azbazdar said the premium amount should be at least 0.50 Turkish Liras per kilogram.

Kocagöz said the decision to determine the premiums according to the global cotton prices was a move to determine a reduced amount because officials thought cultivators were already making a good sum out of the rising prices of the commodity.

“Cotton cultivators bore a great loss between 2000 and 2009 when the global cotton prices showed a steady decline. National cultivation receded from 935,000 tons to 370,000 tons. Is there anyone who could guarantee that the cotton prices in the coming terms would be profitable for the cultivators, or will cotton cultivators be orphaned again?”

Kocagöz recalled that production costs have increased 50 percent over the last 10 years and despite the recent increases the global cotton prices fell 12 percent compared to the prices a decade ago.

"While the complementary price policy was not applied all those years, why has it become a concern now when the cotton cultivators finally started to make money out of their business?”

He said cultivators should be encouraged to go back to cotton farming, adding that it should also be taken into account that Turkey needed to import 800,000 tons of cotton last year, which amounted to $3.2 billion. He repeated the cultivators’ request that cotton should be declared a strategic crop.

İzmir Commodity Exchange Chairman Işınsu Kestelli said the premium, which was 0.42 liras the previous season, should at least be increased to 0.50 liras with respect to inflation.

Tariş Cotton and Oil Seeds Union Chairman Beliğ Azbazdar said this development would again drive farmers away from cotton cultivation and recalled the 2000s when all the cultivators worked at a loss and made investments in machinery that were never returned. “In 2010, 8,000 hectares of a total 35,000 hectares of arable land on the Söke Plateau traded hands. But this was not because one producer was selling to another. It was producers selling their lands to cotton traders. Why are there no cotton collection machines in Turkey? Because they are making more profit by selling cotton than they would by selling machines. It looks like some people do not want us to produce cotton,” he said.

(Source: http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/n.php?n=cotton-farmers-rage-on-undisclosed-support-premiums-2011-04-24)

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