ÇİFTÇİ-SEN ÇİFTÇİLER SENDİKASI
To Press and Public
17 Days Lockdown Serves Interests of Market Chains!
Although the Covid-19 pandemic has clarified once more the significance of the access to food and the nourishment with nutritious food, farmers have continued to produce to find themselves far from setting off the cost. While the input costs are in a rising trend continuously, the government tried to suppress the price through the imports in every harvesting season. Although the farmers have suffered from several catastrophes like hailing, frost, drought, floods, animal and plant diseases at an increasing trend as a result of the global climate change, the government has refrained from supporting the farmers for disasters. Even now, they turn a blind eye to the farmers’ yield loss and the revenue loss that seem to be inevitable because of the ongoing drought in and around Diyarbakır. In addition to the difficulties they face to access their fields because of the pandemic restrictions, the farmers who have kept on producing persistently have been banned from reaching the marketplaces during the current 17 days lockdown. Marketplaces are closed. Unable to sell their products to wholesale markets, the farmers have dumped their products, their labor into waste, starting from Antalya.
In one hand we have the farmers who cannot take and sell their products to and in the marketplaces and dump their products into waste or leave unharvested in fields, and in the other hand we see the consumers who have to buy fruit and vegetables at overly expensive prices of markets or cannot buy at all because of lack of sufficient income… The government has had to concede the farmers’ troubles and issued a decree to open a marketplace in only one location of towns and cities on Saturdays. It is obvious that this decree is far from solving the farmers’ problems, it cannot solve the consumers’ problem to access to food either. Opening only one marketplace in towns and cities only one day of the week will lead to crowded marketplaces that may make way for the spread of the pandemic. It also helps the endurance of an incessant chain that leaves the producers to the mercy of middlemen and market chains. However, a better decision would be to open the marketplaces in smaller regions (districts) on different days of the week. This would be the rational solution to avoid the decaying of the products and to ensure that the consumers can have fresh fruit and vegetables at affordable prices. Because many kinds of vegetables in the field grow old if not harvested daily and get decayed if not harvested and taken to the marketplace timely.
While the first priority should be to increase the number of the marketplaces that are adapted to the requirements of Covid-19 pandemic and are controlled by the public and where producers sell their products at better prices and consumers can access to food at better conditions, the government’s decision to open marketplaces in one location and on the same day of the week forces the consumers to head for chain markets to access to food. Farmers are forced to sell their products at loss and consumers are forced to buy the food they need from the markets at an expensive price. The losers are the consumers who struggle in the current economic crisis in the country and the farmers who work with all family members to produce agricultural products. The winners are obvious: the middlemen and chain markets.
This policy of the government that protects and favors the corporates creates food inflation. In addition to the health crisis created by the Covid-19 pandemic, economic crisis brings along the food crisis threat. Food corporates have endeavored to gain full control of food for many years. Now, taking advantage of the pandemic, they have covered quite a big ground and the government, to our regret, backs them up with decisions they make in this matter. Government also surrenders to the companies the last ring of the chain that enables them to gain full control of the agriculture and food: the marketing.
Consequently, as the global corporations seize control of agriculture and food, in a process starting from seeds and including and going through production, procurement and processing of inputs, and marketing – in another words, as they establish the corporate food systems – the consumers are obliged to consume the products they do not know how have been processed and at the prices imposed by the corporates. It is a must to raise objection and to say NO! to this process. Small farmers, family farmers and those who need to access to healthy food have to fight together to establish their own food system against that of corporates’. The solution lies in the food system of the people, that of the Food Sovereignty.
Ali Bülent Erdem Farmers’ Union Chairman
Adnan Çobanoğlu – Farmers’ Union Organization Secretary