Turkish farmers are increasingly putting land up as collateral for surging debts.
More than 2.2mn have mortgages on their title deeds covering round 42.3mn decares of agricultural land, according to an October 24 BirGun report.
Since 2017, the newspaper said, the debts of farmers in Turkey have quadrupled to Turkish lira 391bn ($13.9bn), with the title deeds of 2.23mn farmers in all who cannot pay their debts mortgaged.
In Turkey, mortgages can secure various types of debts, while real property such as land plots or buildings can be used as collateral.
A lawmaker of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), Ahmet Vehbi Bakirlioglu, obtained information from the agriculture and forestry ministry on mortgaged agricultural areas and the current debts of farmers.
"From 2002 to June 2018, farmers' debts to banks grew from 2.4 billion lira to 97 billion lira, and as of now, they stand at 391 billion lira, marking a fourfold increase during the period of one-man rule," Bakirlioglu was reported as saying, referencing the two decades Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been the country’s leader.
"Konya, Izmir, Adana, Manisa and Sanliurfa [provinces] are in the top 10 in terms of the ratio of mortgaged agricultural areas to total agricultural areas in the province. These figures show us that even those who do not make a living from farming have their fields, vineyards and gardens under mortgage," he added.
Highest ranked for mortgaged agricultural land was the Central Anatolian Konya province, a crucial agriculture region for Turkey. Some 4.65mn decares belonging to 103,000 farmers were recorded as mortgaged agricultural land.
Due to raging inflation and rising costs, farmers have often opted to destroy their crops in recent years. Some have even dumped harvested crops on roads in protest at government policies.
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