ECONOMY

Turkey aims to become key player in global grain sector

Turkey, with a strong flour and licensed warehousing industry, is poised to become one of the most important players in the world's grain sector, head of Turkish Flour Industrialists' Federation (TFIF) said on Friday.

Turkey needs more licensed warehousing infrastructure to shine out in agricultural products export, Günhan Ulusoy told at 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 be the grain hub of the Black Sea region," Ulusoy said.

- TURKEY'S FLOUR SECTOR SIZE AT $5.1 BILLION
Some 535 flour producers generate revenue of 25 billion liras ($5.1 billion) in Turkey, he said.

He said 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, we managed to compensate it 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 that the wheat 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% this year.

"We expect the wheat crop to hit 20 million tons in 2019 thanks to productivity and rainfall," Ulusoy noted.

Stressing the importance of increasing wheat cultivation fields, Ulusoy said wheat producers are capable of finishing stocks with strong export demands.

Ulusoy said due to strong export demand, Turkish wheat producers do not have to worry about overstocking in case of expansion in wheat cultivation lands.

The two-day event, with the theme Global Trade Wheat and Licensed Warehousing, is hosting nearly 1,000 delegates from national and international flour sector.

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