An expanded sectoral meeting on "State Policies and Flour Sector for 2023", organized by the Association of Flour Industrialists of Anatolia (AUSD) was held in Cyprus on 4-6 November 2016.
The expanded sectoral meeting on "State Policies and Flour Sector for 2023" organized by the Anatolia Flour Industrialists' Association (AUSD), one of the leading associations of Turkey's industry, took place at Cyprus Elexus Hotel on 4-6 November 2016. AUSD Chairman of the board Ali İhsan Özkaşıkçı made the opening speech of the annual meeting held by the Association.
"FLOUR INDUSTRY GOING THROUGH A DIFFICULT PERIOD"
Stating that Turkey and the flour industry is at the moment going through a difficult period, Ali İhsan Özkaşıkçı pointed out: "In this process, we must struggle with one voice, one heart, within the unity for our common stakeholders. We have to act together for our common interests. We have to cling to each other and fight shoulder to shoulder".
Saying that they must unite under the roof of the associations and federations against the challenges faced by the flour industry sector, Özkaşıkçı added that "We can talk about many problems like Bosnia-Herzegovina flour, the EU quota, the internal processing regime, the TMO’s (Turkish Grain Board) politics, but these issues are not the core problems we face; they are just matters of secondary importance. But what is the main reason for this brutal competition in the domestic market as well as in exports? Why are we selling wheat on a long-basis maturity while wheat is a prepaid commodity? The answer is extremely simple. There are a lot of players in the market and our capacity is high and also per capita consumption is decreasing. At the same time, the number of producers in the bakery products sector we serve is decreasing as a result of mechanization. We should meet frequently to solve these problems".
Stressing that the bread sector in Turkey is under constant intervention due to public bread enterprises controlled by the municipalities on the one hand and the increasing number of chain markets on the other hand, Özkaşıkçı said that the flour industry is going through a difficult period due to the policies promising cheap bread to the public, the chain markets and inefficient bakery sector.
"TURKISH FLOUR INDUSTRY CONTRIBUTED TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE MACHINERY SECTOR"
İsmail Kunduracı, the Board Chairman of Yükseliş Makine, the main sponsor of the meeting, stated that the mill machines sector reached a very important point thanks to the position that industrialists occupy in the world and added that "The development of Turkey's flour industry has made a significant contribution to the development of the machinery sector. The machinery sector has to stand on its own feet through new products and inventions, not through just tactics. My hope is that all companies act with this consciousness. This awareness will be possible through the right education, government policies and a right support policy. I hope that all the units of our state will be even more supportive regarding the right investment and government policy incentive funds".
"BOSNIAN FLOUR IMPORT IS UNFAIR COMPETITION"
Giving a speech during the meeting, the president of Turkish Flour Industrialists’ Federation (TUSAF) Eren Günhan Ulusoy emphasized that the Turkish agricultural sector makes up 8% of the Turkish Gross National Product and 24% of the employment.
Stressing that the flour imported from Bosnia-Herzegovina is on their agenda, he said that "the imported flour from Bosnia and Herzegovina was one thousand 428 tons in 2014, 2 thousand 170 tons in 2015 and 34 thousand 700 tons as of September 2016. This figure is expected to reach 350-400 thousand tons. Why has the importation gained such a momentum? According to the free trade agreement with Bosnia and Herzegovina, wheat was imported from Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2009-2010 and then import of flour started".
Stating that they are not happy with the flour imported from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Eren Günhan Ulusoy said that "This import is unfair competition, as the amount of Bosnian flour increases, the amount of wheat that the Turkish flour industry buys from domestic market will decrease. In order to prevent the flour from coming to Turkey from Bosnia and Herzegovina, our efforts in this field will continue without interruption as the board of directors".
234 TURKISH COMPANIES CANNOT MAKE PRODUCTION
Southeast Flour Industrialists' Association (GUSAD) Chairman Erhan Özmen also gave a speech during the second part of the meeting. Giving a speech under the title "Flour Industry toward 2023" , Özmen started his speech mentioning the political and economic problems both in Turkey and around the world. Emphasizing that Turkey is going through a difficult period due to its location, Özmen said "I hope this would be the end; in the following period, stability and peace would arouse in Turkey and around."
Mentioning the "Turkish flour industry inventory" in his speech, shared interesting statements upon the data they get. Stating that Turkey does not make a medium or long term sectoral policy for future which is based on an inventory, Özmen continued: "As an association, we have tried to make an inventory for Turkish flour industry. Our friends tried to get statistical data in order to shed light on the future by visiting around 230 factories in 22 different provinces. As to these statistics, there are 710 companies in Turkey. 476 of these companies are active; 234 of these are passive. The current total installed capacity is 40 million tons. 234 passive companies are now available for production but they cannot make production. Why did we feel the need for this statistic? We must calculate the idle capacity of the world's export champion country and act accordingly."
TMO ACCELERATES STRUCTURING FOR PRODUCTION
Turkish Grain Board’s (TMO) chairman İsmail Kemaloğlu delivered the last speech of the meeting. Following all the speeches and mentioned problems carefully, Kemaloğlu told two jokes in a speech titled "TMO’s Transformation Movement: 2023 Vision" which made the participants laugh and also think. Emphasizing that the wheat, barley and cereal plantation in Turkey is decreasing while the corn and rice plantation is increasing, İsmail Kemaloğlu stated that there is risk and uncertainty in agriculture sector and an uncontrollable production process. He also added that the problems in flour industry have already been told; that TMO along with the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock are started to work to solve these problems; that some changes will be made in market intervention policies and licensed storage works will contribute to the industry.
Expressing that the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock increased the number of the agricultural basins from 30 to 941 with the acceptance that each district where agricultural activities are being carried out is an agricultural basin in accordance with its 2023 agricultural vision, Kemaloğlu said that from now on, the agricultural support will be given according to the basin-based model. Stating that anybody will be able to plant any product on any soil, Kemaloğlu added that "but this means that the producers may not receive the support for any products they grow anywhere they wish. The producers producing certain crops at the places determined by the Ministry will be able to receive support".