Istanbul, Aug 7 () - Meat prices in Turkey have begun spiraling upward, with the state-run Meat and Milk Board (ESK) being forced to import high amounts of meat amid promises of further purchases despite reaction from private businesses.
The ESK launched a tender to buy 3,200 tons of frozen meat on Aug. 5, announcing that the purchases would continue until the Feast of Sacrifice on Sept. 24.
This added to a 500-ton purchase last week.
Kasım Piral, the general manager of the ESK, said they were hoping for a price of 23.50 Turkish Liras per kilogram.
“With the entry of livestock onto the market, our goal is to push meat prices to 23.50 liras. Now looking at the costs, we can see a 10 percent bubble in prices” Piral said.
New meat has been released onto the market in a bid to push prices down, he said.
Delicatessens and catering companies will be the main buyers.
Daily Habertürk quoted an Agriculture Ministry official as saying the ESK would be used to block price speculation.
However, Şemsi Kopuz, the head of the Food and Beverages Associations Federation of Turkey (TGDF), said the bubble was at 30 percent but that imports would not prevent speculators, calling instead for longer-term solutions.
Bendevi Palandöken, the head of the Confederation of Turkish Craftsmen and Tradesmen (TESK), said the real reason behind the price hike was speculation before the Feast of Sacrifice, also known as Eid al-Adha.
“To prevent the hike in meat prices, small cattle raisers should be supported,” he said, citing past experiences that said the rise in demand did not result in price hikes.
“Feeders have been having their golden periods for the past one or two years. But we cannot offer consumers meat at a price that doubles the European Union or world markets just for the sake of the feeders” he said.
The ESK also signaled that Turkey would buy halal meat in accordance with Islamic law from accredited European Union producers.
The body will consider further solutions once the feast is over. Muslims traditionally sacrifice livestock during the feast and distribute them to neighbors and those who are in need, which first causes an increase in prices before a sharp fall.
The ESK official said Turkey might consider buying meat from South American countries, depending on the prices in the global market.