Turkey is set to initiate the "Cold Chain Financing Support Program" with the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Organization (KOSGEB), seeking to reduce vegetable and fruit waste at a time when inflation is causing upward pressure on food prices, the country's industry and technology minister said Wednesday.
Mustafa Varank, along with Agriculture and Forestry Minister Bekir Pakdemirli, participated in the opening of the Agrigenomics Center-Animal and Plant Genomics Researches Innovation Center funded within the framework of the financial cooperation of the European Union and Turkey.
Varank stated that the COVID-19 pandemic once again showed the value of some products that are indispensable for life.
“Food comes first among them. The tendency to stockpile observed in consumers during the pandemic period created a great burden on the agricultural sector by increasing demand. Contrary to this expansion on the consumption side, there was a contraction on the production side due to the mandatory restrictions,” he said.
Stating that this situation displays the importance of taking measures to ensure the continuity of production on time, Varank pointed out that sustainability in production has become one of the most important issues.
“We will carry our success further with our innovative projects, and we will continue to strive to offer quality products to our citizens at affordable prices,” Varank said.
The minister said that inflation has put pressure on food prices recently and that supply chains, which have been disrupted due to the pandemic, have had a great effect on this.
“As of tomorrow, we will be implementing the Cold Chain Financing Support Program that will reduce vegetable and fruit waste,” he said, noting: “Within the scope of the program, we will provide support of up to TL 750,000 ($84,210) for new refrigerated safe boxes and cold room units, domestic goods that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) will acquire by leasing."
Varank stated that traders and brokers operating in wholesale markets and logistics companies engaged in vegetable-fruit transportation will benefit from the program.
“In this way, we will cover the financing cost that will occur in the acquisition of the cold air unit and refrigerated cases of the enterprises. Our goal is to reduce the costs of SMEs by minimizing the loss of fruits and vegetables. Thus, to reduce the high prices (for customers). I want all our companies that meet the conditions to monitor this support and apply,” the minister stressed.
Explaining that they developed the project with the Ministries of Agriculture and Forestry, Trade, Treasury and Finance, Varank said that they will overcome the problems in the field together with cooperation between the public and private sectors.