Municipal direct sale points across Turkey have sold some 30,000 tons of goods, including 15,000 tons of fresh fruits and vegetables and 15,000 tons of grains and legumes, since their launch last month.
Local municipalities in Istanbul and Ankara launched on Feb. 11 the direct sale points to counter soaring consumer foodstuff prices, offering agricultural products to average consumers at an affordable price. This practice was later adopted in other provinces as well.
The direct sale points were established as part of the Treasury and Finance Ministry's all-out battle against inflation campaign, with the support of the Agriculture and Forestry Ministry. Initially, they offered eight types of vegetables and as of Feb. 26, they started offering grains and legumes, including rice, chickpeas and lentils.
The Turkish economy has been tackling high inflation for the last year. Consumer prices peaked in October and hit 25.24 percent. In February, inflation fell below the 20 percent threshold for the first time since September. Sustainable tight monetary policy, fiscal discipline and other measures such as direct sale points have made a major contribution to the improvement in the inflation rate.
Turkey saw an annual rise of 19.67 percent in consumer prices in February, according to the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat). Last month, annual inflation went down 0.68 percentage points from 20.35 percent in January.
The sale points, launched to circumvent middlemen and profiteers, have seen widespread demand from citizens. With the start of vegetable sales at municipal direct sale points, prices in wholesale vegetable markets and supermarket chains dropped by half.
Stating that sales have so far reached 111 points in eight cities, Fahrettin Poyraz, general manager of the Agricultural Credit Cooperatives of Turkey, said the practice was initiated in order to avoid the rambling price increases in the market. "We are not saying we will sell every product. We will only sell products that have seen an exorbitant price increase," he added. Poyraz recalled that they aim for citizens to have access to fruit and vegetables at a reasonable price with the sales points. "After launching our sales, giant markets also decreased their prices. At this point, alternatives were created for our citizens to find fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes at an affordable price," he continued, adding that the project has accomplished its objectives.
In addition, the state-run postal service, Turkish Post and Telegraph Organization's (PTT) online marketplace www.epttavm.com has also started selling vegetables.
Fruit and vegetables on www.epttavm.com are available at prices set by the direct sale points and all products will be delivered safely to people via PTT Cargo and Logistics.