New market law to establish farmers' union to regulate prices for producers, consumers

BETÜL ALAKENT
Istanbul
Published

To regulate the agricultural market and food prices, the government is working on a new Market Law that is part of its 100-day action plan.

According to the latest reports, this law will organize producers in a way similar to the union model used in the U.S. Likewise, producer unions will be established for each agricultural product, like apples, tomatoes, cherries, grapes and figs, while the price difference from the field to the consumers will not exceed 20 percent under the new system.

Aimed at delivering products from the producer to consumer at minimum cost, the government has examined the best examples in the world and is currently evaluating producer unions in the U.S.

Producer unions will manage all decision-making mechanisms at every stage until the product is delivered from the field to the end consumer. Farmers themselves will form a board of directors that will also include one official from the provincial directorates of agriculture. While both producers and consumers will win with the new model, there will be a maximum 20 percent difference from the field to the table.

According to the model, bulk purchases will be made at every stage, from seed and pesticide to fertilizer, enabling farmers to supply the product cheaper.

Unions will supervise farmers in their production processes. They will also provide training in good farming, proper irrigation, spraying and productivity-enhancing activities.

After collecting the crop, unions will transport the product to the market using the cold chain method, preventing an approximate 40 percent loss usually suffered during transportation.

Unions, which will take part in every stage from packaging to transportation, will sell directly to markets or open market groups, eliminating intermediaries in the process.

The Cooperatives Law will be revised for the model to be developed with a cooperative system. With the new system, everyone will have shares in accordance with the amount of product they produce. With unions taking an active role in land consolidation, farmers are to be encouraged to consolidate the system with extra support, providing maximum benefit to both producers and consumers, as unions would operate just like a company.

Professor Senih Yazgan, vice chairman of the Uludağ Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Exporters' Association (UYMSİB), said that with this model, farming in Turkey will be revived once again, while both producers and consumers will win in the process.

Stressing that this system will also contribute to the country's economy, Yazgan said a farmer who plows either 5 decares or 500 decares of land has a tractor, while the state lends separate diesel support for each tractor. "However, a tractor can crop up to 250 decares of land. The unions can introduce a scale of 250 decares for a tractor, stopping the tractor dump, thus dropping the burden of diesel support on the state," he added.

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