Turkey’s Competition Board has opened a probe into claims that recent hikes in fresh fruit and vegetable prices were caused by unfair competitive moves by some companies, citing extreme price increases in some products that have a significant share in the budgets of low and middle incomers.
“We have recently taken some allegations claiming that an extreme price hike in some food products, which have a big share in the household budgets of low and middle incomers, including fresh fruits and vegetables, have been caused by anticompetitive pricing or competition blocking moves of some companies,” the authority said in a statement on May 17.
“Specifically, as it was seen that huge differences in the wholesale prices and retails prices of these products created serious discomfort among the public, Competition Board experts have put a special focus on the fresh fruit and vegetable sector,” it noted, adding that “heavy penalties” would be imposed if any unfair competition moves were detected.
Annual inflation rate reached its highest level in around nine years as a result of a weak Turkish Lira in several sectors, according to official data released on May 3.
Consumer prices in Turkey rose 11.87 percent year-on-year in April from 11.29 percent in March, data from the Turkish Statistics Institute (TÜİK) showed. Annual consumer price inflation was also at the highest level since October 2008. April’s consumer price inflation was driven by food prices, which rose 1.23 percent from a month earlier, according to official data.
In a meeting on May 5, Turkey’s Food Committee decided to take a number of measures to raise storage and monitoring standards and to diversify foreign trade dynamics and marketing methods in order to curb a persistent rise in food prices, which have played a key role in pushing up the country’s inflation rate.
The committee is set to hold another meeting on May 20 to take further measures, according to top officials.