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Turkish ministry may bid for some privatized sugar plants

Staff Writer |
The Agriculture and Livestock Ministry may bid to buy some of the sugar plants currently slated for privatization, Agriculture and Livestock Minister Ahmet Esref Fakıbaba said.

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“If we think conditions are appropriate, we will consider buying some those factories through the Agriculture Credit Cooperatives [Tarım Kredi Kooperatifleri],” Fakıbaba stated, without elaborating.

Amid sharp criticism from different quarters, including the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and labor unions, Fakıbaba said the privatization of the sugar plants would increase pulp production that in return will boost employment in the sector.

“Production will increase and as a result sugar prices will decline. Farmers and the countryside will benefit from this,” he added.

The lower prices stemming from the privatizations will also provide a better opportunity to compete with starch-based sugar, Fakıbaba said.

Private cooperatives own eight sugar plants while the state operates 25, he added, noting that privately owned factories produce 1 million tons of sugar while the corresponding figure for state-owned plants is 1.4 million tons.

“We, as the state, need to compete with the private sector. We need to have competition. Should all sugar plants be privatized? No. The state must regulate strategic products,” Fakıbaba said.

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