Turkey is poised to become a major player in the global grain industry, thanks to its growing flour and licensed warehousing sector, the head of Turkish Flour Industrialists' Federation (TFIF) Günhan Ulusoy said Friday.
Turkey needs more licensed warehousing infrastructure to shine in agricultural products export, Ulusoy told the 15th TFIF International Congress and Exhibition held in the southern resort city of Antalya.
The capacity of licensed grain warehouses was around 3.4 million tons in Turkey, he said. Some 144 companies have a total of 12 million tons of pre-application, Ulusoy said. "When the capacity reaches 20 million tons, we may become the grain hub of the Black Sea region," he added.
He said some 535 flour producers generate revenues worth TL 25 billion in Turkey and added that the amount of flour Turkey exported dropped to 3.3 million tons last year from its peak of 3.5 million tons in 2016. "It seems that we had great tonnage loss in the sector, but we managed to compensate for it by entering into new markets.
"The annual rise in our exports to Yemen, Syria and Angola last year offset the decline in sales to our biggest flour market for 14 years, Iraq," he said.
Ulusoy highlighted that w
heat cultivation lands in Turkey shrank in the last 20 years. "Wheat cultivation areas in Turkey dropped to 7.3 million hectares in 2018, down from 9.4 [million hectares] in 2000," Ulusoy said.
He said the wheat cultivation areas in Turkey is projected to drop 5 percent this year. "We expect the wheat crop to hit 20 million tons in 2019 thanks to productivity and rainfall," Ulusoy noted.
He stressed the importance of increasing wheat cultivation fields. "Wheat producers are capable of finishing stocks with strong export demands. Due to strong export demand, Turkish wheat producers do not have to worry about overstocking in case of expansion in wheat cultivation lands," he added.
The two-day event held under the theme: "Global Trade Wheat and Licensed Warehousing," is hosting nearly 1,000 national and international delegates.
Turkey has been among the world's top flour exporters over the last six years, and it hopes to export flour to over 100 countries. It is also one of the world's top 10 for wheat producers, with 19 million tons.
In March, TFIF took the helm of the Eurasia region administration of the International Association of Operative Millers (IAOM), which manages $55 billion of the total world wheat market ($180 billion) and $2.5 billion of all flour trade in the world ($5 billion).
The IAOM, founded in 1896, represents around 70 countries worldwide and focuses on improving profitability and efficiency in the milling and wheat
sectors. The TFIF, founded in 2005, represents 90 percent of the Turkish flour sector with over 400 members in Turkey.