President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's visits to Senegal, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Guinea-Bissau are expected to contribute to the opening of new markets for Turkish companies operating in the agricultural sector and to increase the trade volume in this field.
Initially, agreements, such as Cooperation Agreement in the Field of Vegetables and Fruit Exports, Cooperation Agreement in the Field of Export of Peanut Products and Memorandum of Understanding on the Supply of Motor Agricultural Equipment are expected to be signed between Turkey and Senegal, during the visit, according to a report by the Anadolu Agency (AA) who cited the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.
While there is no agreement foreseen with the DRC, it is expected that cooperation, knowledge and experience sharing on topics such as desertification, drought, combating forest fires and pests, watershed management and wastewater treatment will be on the agenda during the visit.
Nihat Uysallı, chairperson of the Central Anatolian Cereals, Pulses, Oilseeds and Products Exporters' Association (OAIB), told AA that he finds Erdogan's vision of opening to Africa very important.
Uysallı pointed out that the national flag carrier Turkish Airlines (THY) enables exporters to reach every point in Africa and that this makes a great contribution to Turkey both politically and economically.
“The import data of Senegal's food products shows that Turkey has a high potential as an exporter for legumes, semolina, starch, inulin, palm oil, sugar products, cocoa preparations, bakery products and yeast group,” he said.
Nejdat Sin, chairperson of the board of the Mediterranean Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Exporters' Association (AKIB), explained that the Turkish fresh fruit and vegetable sector exports mostly apples, carrots, radishes, grapes, tea, beans, dates and oranges to Senegal. Sin said, "Senegal and KDC (DRC), which Erdoğan will visit within the scope of his Africa program, will make significant contributions to the Turkish fresh fruit and vegetable sector, which carries out intensive studies to increase market diversity, to become more effective in the African continent.”
Sin emphasized that their products are similar in quality to European countries at more competitive prices in the African market, where mostly Italy, the Netherlands, Denmark, France, the United Kingdom and Germany are dominant.
"The trade agreement to be signed with Senegal and the trade diplomacy we will develop, for our fresh fruit and vegetable, cereals and pulses, aquaculture and animal products sectors to take a larger share in the African market, will be a meaningful and driving force for our exports in terms of establishing new export bridges in other countries in the west of the African continent,” he stressed.
According to the data of the Turkish Exporters Assembly (TIM), Turkey's agricultural product exports to Senegal amounted to $88.1 million in 2021 with an increase of approximately 30% compared to the previous year, with the largest contributing items being cereals, pulses, oilseeds with $59.7 million.
This was followed by the furniture, paper and forest products with $20.4 million and aquaculture and animal products with $5.9 million.
Exports of fruit and vegetable products, seen among the top items on which an agreement is expected to take place, amounted to $1.2 million and exports of fresh fruits and vegetables amounted to $211,000 last year.
Turkey's export of agricultural products to DRC was worth $27.6 million last year. In 2020, this figure was $34.7 million. Grains, pulses, oilseeds and products took the biggest share in exports with $16.7 million.
Turkey's exports to Guinea-Bissau, where the first visit at the presidential level will take place, was $1.7 million in 2020 and increased to $2.9 million last year.