Ağrı (Agiri) is among those Kurdish majority cities of Turkey where Turkey’s ever-deepening economic crisis hits the hardest.
The main means of earning a living in Ağrı is the breeding of livestock, and farmers are suffering very hard times due to the increase in the cost of both of straw and of feed.
With the added difficulty of drought in the pastures many villagers have been forced to bring their animals to market to sell, MA reported.
Sinan Turan has brought his animals from Sinek Pasture to sell at the market. He states that the livestock markets are in a very bad way because of the ongoing economic crisis. He says he cannot even sell an animal for the same price that he bought it, despite feeding and fattening it up for two years.
“Farmers are dying. You sow your field, but because of the price of diesel you cannot harvest it. We are bringing an animal here each month to sell, but we still cannot make ends meet,” he said.
“The government may try and pass the pandemic off as the cause of the crisis,” he added, “But the real cause of the crisis is Erdoğan’s 12-month long campaign of war. The greatest problem is Erdoğan.”
Livestock farmer Kemal Aras explained that although summer is the season for both feed and straw, they are currently being sold at high prices, which in turn brings down the price of livestock.
He said that although there were daily increases in the prices of diesel, fertiliser, feed and groceries, there had been no increase in the price of meat.
He also said that an animal sold for 20-thousand TL (Turkish Lira) last year would now only bring 18-thousand TL, and that straw, feed and hay had fallen into the hands of the “black marketeers even before winter had started.
Livestock farmer Ayhan Kaya said that it was no longer possible to make a living from livestock farming in Ağrı. He said that a sack of feed bought last year for 90 TL was sold this year for 150 TL, and in particular due to the drought, straw prices have shown a sharp increase.
Kaya stated that people had fallen into debt to the state and the banks: “People are trying to feed and clothe their families on credit. I have taken credit too, but if the situation continues in this way, I won’t be able to repay it. People have stopped trusting each other. I don’t want anything from the state. They have not responded to any requests in the past, why would they respond now?”
Reşit Kızılkurt, who has been a livestock dealer for 30 years, said that he had never before experienced a crisis as bad as this. He said that no-one was helping the livestock farmers and that the state should take responsibility because of the fall in livestock prices.
“The cost of living keeps going up. Everyone is desperate. It is the ‘sultan’ ruling the country who is causing this. Everyone must know this. As Kurds we are in a much more desperate situation still. Our only way out is justice for the whole country,” he said.