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Report Shows Illegal Meat Production

21 July 2008

TURKEY - A quarter of Turkey's meat production is unregulated, according to a report from the Turkish Union of Agricultural Chambers (TZD).

TZD president Ibrahim Yetkin said this amounted to 400,000 tonnes of illegal meat production annually.

According to Today's Zaman, the Cattle Breeding Business Report for 2008 showed that in 2007 Turkey's total meat production reached to 576,841 tonnes, or 31.5 per cent more than in 2006.

Mr Yetkin said that the amount of registered meat production was 560,000 tons in 1990.

Mr Yetkin added that 60 per cent of meat produced in Istanbul is unregistered and added that the use of unregulated cattle and sheep in Istanbul threatens human health, the cattle breeding business and the economy, according to the Today's Zaman report.

The Cattle Breeding Business Report shows the number of cattle in Turkey has increased while the number of sheep has decreased. The Turkish Statistics Institute (TurkStat) lists the number of cattle as 13 million in the 1983-2005 period, 10.6 million in 2006 and 11.1 million in 2007. The number of sheep decreased from 40 million in the 1983-2005 period to 31.5 million in 2006 and continued to decrease the same year. The total number of sheep in 2007 was 25.5 million. The total number of small cattle in 2007 amounted to 31.8 million.

According to Yetkin, the total cost of the decrease to the country's economy in the number of sheep is $3 billion.

"The number of cattle, which fell sharply after the economic crisis of 2001, increased thanks to incentives given in this business. Governmental support increased 17 times in the last five years -- totaling YTL 1.25 billion, he told Today's Zaman.

Total milk production increased by 3.16 percent to reach 12.3 million tonnes in 2007 compared to the previous year. Total milk production increased, despite the dropping number of cattle and sheep, as production efficiency increased. Even though 90-95 percent of milk is processed in facilities in developed Western countries, only 13 per cent of Turkey's total milk production goes to such facilities; 47 per cent is processed at other facilities and the rest, 40 perc ent, is sold on the street.

Yetkin also stressed that even though Turkey's meat production can meet the country's needs at the moment, it will have to import 170,000 tonnes of meat in 2015 if necessary precautions are not taken, according to statistics prepared by the State Planning Organization (DPT).

  • View the Today's Zaman story by clicking here.
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