The Çukurova region in southern Turkey has received heavier than seasonally normal rainfall recently. Observers say the bad weather conditions have led to a 50 percent drop in yields from the region and the quality of the produce is not as good as it was last year, and farmers have been forced to sell what they have at lower prices. Farmers say the major problem has been that the heavy rains coincided with the ripening period. For example, the price per kilogram for tomatoes had increased to TL 5 in markets last year but it has now declined to around TL 0.40 or TL 0.50.
Speaking to the Cihan news agency in Adana on Sunday, Seyhan Chamber of Agriculture President Süleyman Girmen said the harvests of most types of produce from tomatoes to watermelons have dropped almost 50 percent in the last few days. “Producers have had difficulties in the past, but this time they have had to lower their prices much earlier than they normally would in the summer season,” he said. Girmen said a decline in demand from neighboring markets due to regional uprisings -- referred by some as the Arab Awakening -- as well as plant diseases have also dealt a blow to producers this year. “Our farmers should get into the practice of insuring all their crops without exception; otherwise, they risk being affected negatively by any minor problems,” said Girmen, pointing out another problem.
Seyithan Öz, a farmer from Çukurova, says tomatoes ripened 20 days later than normal this year and this caused some serious losses in business. “We had to apply pesticides after each rainfall, and the quality of the produce has declined,” he said. He noted that he has had to spend TL 15,000 for pesticides since the beginning of the harvest. “I had eight tons of produce last year, but it looks like this will only be four tons this year. … This translates into a TL 25,000 loss for each 60 decares.”