Namık Kemal PARLAK
Turkish flour industrialists gathered in the ancient city of Mardin for the first time in almost two years to discuss the problems of the industry. The meeting themed "21/22 Harvest Year and Afterwards" organized by DUNSAD and GUSAD in Mardin, which got the attention of hundreds of participants who were bored of online meetings after a long break under the shadow of pandemic restrictions, took place with very keen participation. At the meeting, the risks regarding flour export and the problems in the domestic wheat market were discussed by producers, experts and sector representatives.
Flour industrialists had the opportunity to express their problems before the decision-makers thanks to the meeting organized by the major associations of two regions, where the drought caused great yield losses. As a result of my two-day impressions, every business person we talked to said that the biggest problems of the regional industrialists are drought, raw material supply and increasing prices. In fact, the purpose of the meeting was to cooperate with the public sector regarding the supply of raw materials and to eliminate this process without causing much damage in both the domestic and foreign markets.
GUSAD Honorary President Erhan Özmen, a veteran Turkish flour industrialist, said that to increase wheat production, initiatives should be taken to direct the farmer to plant wheat again. He warned that otherwise, the cultivation areas may shrink even more. He also emphasized that 2 million hectares of uncultivated lands should be brought into production in order to increase wheat cultivation and production, that new production models are needed for rural areas and irrigation investments should be completed in regions threatened by climate change.
“It is a small world. We are competitors of each other now. There is no point in being the flour export champion by selling the cheapest flour in the world. The period of selling monotone flour is over. We can serve the country better by selling branded and value-added products,” said Mr. Özmen.
Pointing out that the Iraqi market is no longer sufficient for Turkish flour exports, another veteran industrialist Mesut Çakmak made the following warning: “One day this will not work only with Iraq. Although things seem fine for now, we do not think that this is sustainable. Our salvation lies only in opening up to overseas countries.”
I think the warnings raised in Mardin should be taken into account. Otherwise, the Turkish flour industrialist may lose the title of world flour export champion.