The Greenhouse Investors and Producers Union's (SERA-BIR) Chairman Muslum Yanmaz said that greenhouse productivity decreased from 30 tons per 0.1 hectare to 17 tons.
Due to bad weather conditions and high input costs, 120 greenhouse growers made a loss in an area of 1100 hectares.
"The majority of our producers completed the season with no profits, if not with a loss," said chairman Yanmaz. Pointing out that the input costs increased by 51% during the period August 2018 - June 2019, Yanmaz added: "Our production costs for a kilo of tomatoes ranges from 3.2 to 3.7 Turkish Lira (0.51 to 0.59 Euro). However, we could not sell them for more than 3 Turkish Lira on average this year."
Basic input costs of a greenhouse include labor, irrigation/fertilization, packaging/transportation and heating, said Muslum Yanmaz and he continued: "In 0.1 hectare, we have an input cost of 80,000 Turkish Lira (12,652 Euro). In Afyon this cost goes up to 120,000 Turkish Lira (18,978 Euro). This year, due to weather conditions we had less sunny days. Both insufficient light and rains caused inadequate ventilation and therefore diseases emerged. This led to a decrease in productivity from 30 tons to 17 tons. Decreased productivity increased our costs even more."
Producers struggle due to high costs
Not only greenhouse producers, but all the producers in Turkey face similar problems. One of the main reasons for this is the fact that nearly 90% of the agricultural inputs are imported and the costs increase as the exchange rate increases.
Cucumber and zucchini producers had to uproot their products due to low prices and plant new products. This caused an additional input cost. However, sector representatives remind that investment costs are much higher in greenhouse production than traditional production and that the increase in input costs put an extra burden on greenhouse producers. In modern greenhouses where both water and soil-based production take place, one of the highest input costs is electricity.
While the majority of traditional greenhouses use electricity for heating, more modern greenhouses can use geothermal energy and coal as well. To generate geothermal energy, electricity is used. Electricity cost increased by 76.4% in only one year. Sector representatives ask the state to cut the taxes on electricity. They suggest that the 18% VAT, 2% of TRT (Turkish Radio and Television Corporation) share and %1 of energy fund should be completely cut.
Fruit and vegetable exports decreased by 20%
According to Mediterranean Exporters Unions' report, Turkey's fruit and vegetable exports continue to decrease. "The Evaluation Report on Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Sector in Turkey" states that in the first eight months of 2019, fresh fruits and vegetable exports decreased by 20% in terms of volume compared to the same period in 2018, and the exports value decreased by 13%. The most dramatic fall is observed in citrus group. Citrus exports volume decreased by 32% and exports value decreased by 39% in 2019 compared to the previous year.
Source: Cumhuriyet (Gamze Bal)