Turkey's cattle imports lifts enough to worry local breeders
Cattle farmers in Turkey are urging the authorities to halt livestock imports and to offer support for their businesses. Poor economic conditions have increased inflation and, along with it, the production costs for Turkish farmers, according to Ahval News website.
Last week, 3,000 animals arrived from Spain and others are to come from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Poland as the Muslim holiday of Eid al Adha is ongoing. Prices for feed, medicine and diesel have increased in the last twelve months making the Turkish livestock sector inefficient, despite the fast rebuild of the national herd seen in the last couple of years.
Meanwhile, the number of cattle in Turkey increased by nearly 7 percent in 2018, reaching 17.2 million, while the number of sheep and goats increased by more than 4 percent to reach 46.1 million. In 2017, the number of cattle increased by more than 13 percent.
The number of animals in the country is on the rise with each passing year, even as meat consumption is in decline. In the first quarter of 2019, red meat consumption in Turkey fell by 18.6 percent from the previous quarter and 16.5 percent compared to the same quarter last year, according to the Turkish Statistical Institute.
Nevertheless, Turkey remains one major cattle importer as the government continues to buy livestock from abroad and sell the meat bellow the acquisition price. For a local producer, the production costs for one kilo of beef is about 27 lira but the average market price is at 25-26 lira due to cattle imports, as Cevdet Guney, former owner of a leading agriculture and stockbreeding company in Hatay, declared for the newspaper. Last year, Turkey has imported 1.2 million cattle, a figure that ranked the country as the second largest livestock importer in the world, right behind the US. Both countries are accounting for 82% of global livestock imports in 2018. Since then, Turkey has limited or halted livestock imports from some European countries such as Ireland but it still receiving shipments from others.