ECONOMY

Turkey earns $22B from flour product exports in last decade

Turkey has earned $22 billion by exporting flour products over the last decade, the head of the Turkish Flour Industrialists Federation (TFIF) said.

The country generated $10 billion of added value from $12 billion of wheat imports during the same period, Eren Gunhan Ulusoy told Anadolu Agency.

Ulusoy said Turkey also tops the global flour export market with over 20% of all exports and came in second in the pasta export market.

He said Turkey's flour export, which was about 170,000 tons in 2001, rose by 20 times to reach 3.3 million tons last year.

"Turkey exported $1B worth of flour while imported $1.1B worth of wheat. Our exports were $2.4B as a whole flour product group and our gross added value was about $1.4B last year," said Ulusoy, who is also the director of the International Association of Operative Millers (IAOM) Eurasia.

He noted that Turkey is the eighth largest country in wheat production with 19-20 million tons annually. However, he said the production could not meet the demand of flour products' exports due to local consumption.

"While there were 9.3 million hectares of wheat cultivation area in 2001, this area fell below 7 million hectares in 2019," Ulusoy said.

"If we had saved 9 million hectares of cultivated lands, the current yields would be more than 20 million tons, and there would be no need for import of wheat," he added.

He added that over 10,000-year-old cultivated wheat -- perhaps the world's first -- has its origins in the famed ancient site of Gobeklitepe in Turkey's southeastern province of Sanliurfa.

Turkey has a total of 535 active flour factories in almost all 81 provinces, he noted.

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