Erhan Özmen, the Chairperson of Southeast Flour Industrialists’ Association (GUSAD), called on Ukrainian flour industrialists to make cooperation with Turkey during the Grain Processors Forum in Odessa. “Just next to you, there is a country that has substantial investments with excess capacity. We can utilize this capacity together. Ukrainian wheat can be turned into the final product in Turkey,” he said.
Odessa, an important seaport that carries out grain delivery to the world from Ukraine, hosted a significant conference on grain and flour sector between 27 and 30 September. The global grain policies have been discussed during the Grain Processors Forum jointly organized by the Southeast Flour Industrialists’ Association (GUSAD), Anatolian Flour Industrialists Association (AUSD), APK-Inform that is Ukraine- based agriculture consulting organization, and the Ukraine Millers’ Association.
During the conference, the global trade of wheat and flour has been also debated. In the conference, investment and cooperation opportunities in the grain industry between Turkey and Ukraine have been discussed. More than three hundred people from eight countries participated in the conference. The largest participation was from Turkey. Over one hundred industrialists attended the meeting. Officials from the Agriculture and Forestry Ministry and the Turkish Grain Board have joined.
GUSAD Chairperson Erhan Özmen made the opening speech of the conference while Mesut Çakmak, CEO of Beşler Group, talked about “the Middle East Flour Export.” Özmen said this forum is very important because it brought together countries that realized the half of the flour trade in the globe, adding that it is normal to produce flour from wheat and export this new product; however, he underlined that the new trend is to enrich the flour. “As Turkey, we need to increase kilogram value in 3.5 million tons of flour export. In other words, we have to increase the added-value by enriching our products. We need to produce the enriched flour like vitamin, mineral, folic acid, and iron,” Özmen said. Saying that Turkish industrialists have worked to enrich their products with high protein products like lentil and chickpea, he said, “We can develop the trend in the world. Right now, we are the leader of flour trade but we can fortify our leadership by doing these.”
Besides, he presented the projection about the future of Turkish flour industry. He said that the annual flour capacity reached forty million tons two years ago and more than seven hundred facilities made production. “We realized that those wrong investments had been made without proper feasibility. So, the consolidation has begun. About two-hundred-forty facilities were closed down. Today, we have 475 facilities with a capacity of 32 million tons in total. Despite the consolidation, we have fourteen million tons of excess capacity. That means the consolidation will continue,” he said. He predicted that the number of facilities will fall below three hundred. At this point, he presented important recommendations to the Ukrainian flour industrialists. Saying that they should be careful in making investments, he said, “Just next to you, there is a country that has substantial investments with excess capacity. We can utilize this capacity together. Ukrainian wheat can be turned into the final product in Turkey.”
The chairperson of GUSAD also talked on news appeared in last August that Russia would limit the grain sale to foreign countries. “Russia cannot stop the wheat export but can limit it. There would be no problem for the flour producers. We can compensate this from countries like Ukraine. Besides, Ukraine can increase its wheat production by cooperating with Turkey,” he noted.
PARTNERSHIP CALL FROM UKRAINE TO TURKEY
Speaking during the three-day forum, Olena Kovalova, the Deputy Minister of Agriculture of Ukraine, talked about the country’s agricultural potential. Saying that agricultural products, especially grain, constitute nearly half of the country’s export, she said, “In particular, we have a substantial production of wheat. This can increase further. Besides, we want to process the wheat. Turkey has serious experience at this. We can develop serious partnerships both in raw material production and product production of final product.”
Rodion Rybchinsky, the President of Ukraine Millers Association, talked about Turkey’s experience in wheat and flour sector. Saying that Turkey is the leader in the flour export, he said, “Ukraine is not as important as Turkey. But we took the example of Turkey. We can learn about Turkey. There are important opportunities in the production of wheat and flour. We can utilize this together.”