Turkey should be self-sufficient in wheat production as soon as possible

05 July 20228 min reading

“As the Turkish Flour Industrialists' Federation, our main goal is to overcome this difficult period of crises and uncertainties, both in domestic supply channels and in exports, with the least damage and to create a strong industry union. We are aware of the need to increase our country's wheat production to a self-sufficient level in a sustainable way as soon as possible by working in coordination with our state and related institutions”

 Veysi Duyan
Dicle Flour Industrialists' Association

Mardin, the ancient city of Mesopotamia's fertile lands and one of Turkey's top-quality wheat production regions, ranks first in Turkey's flour export. 33% of Turkey's flour exports, 23% of bulgur exports and 10% of pasta exports come from Mardin. Veysi Duyan, Chairman of the Board of Marduy Flour, one of the leading Turkish flour companies, and Chairman of the Dicle Flour Industrialists' Association (DUNSAD), answered our questions on the ongoing wheat harvest throughout Turkey and the future of the industry.

Duyan says that the increasing number of flour mills in Iraq, one of the most important markets for Turkish flour exports, will not be an obstacle for the industry. He thinks that the Turkish flour industrialist will continue to exist in the Iraqi market for many years with its quality and price advantage. “Our country's industrialists and export power is known around the world with the test it gave in difficult times. In challenging times, we have taken responsibility together and successfully overcome global threats and economic shocks many times. We have full confidence in the knowledge we have.” DUNSAD Chairman states that with the awareness that Turkey must produce enough wheat to be self-sufficient, it should find ways to increase the yield.

The answers given by Veysi Duyan to our questions are as follows:

Mr. Duyan, you are successfully managing Marduy Un, one of Turkey's leading wheat flour exporters. Could you give us brief information about your company? 

Marduy is a company that has been operating successfully in its targeted markets for years, with its partnership and capital structure, completed and ongoing investments, equities, production technology and quality standards. Our primary goal has always been to keep up with many sudden changes in the export regime in global and local markets while maintaining profitability and sales targets. Maintaining this company experience and business ethics, both in purchasing and sales, is the focal point of our working life.

You follow Turkey and the world markets closely. The world is experiencing a food crisis due to the ongoing effects of the coronavirus, the Russia-Ukraine war, extreme weather events and rising energy costs. How will this situation affect the Turkish flour industrialists?

Turkey has been maintaining its world leadership in wheat flour export for years. And the Iraqi market ranks first in Turkey's flour export by far. The fact that Russia and Ukraine, two important actors of the world grain trade, are in a war that is expected to last for a long time, continues to create serious uncertainties in the grain supply and commodity prices. Moreover, it is obvious that the economic conditions in Turkey are also forcing us day by day with uncertainties due to this environment of global anxiety and insecurity.

In this period, the Turkish flour industry is facing a tough test in order to prove its strength, sustainability and the permanence of its brands in the markets it has rightfully acquired with hard work, diligence, capital and production power.

Your company exports almost all of its flour production to Iraq. However, in recent years, Iraq has been establishing mills to meet its flour needs. Does this development worry you and Turkish flour industrialists? What measures do you intend to take in this regard?

It is quite natural for local industrialists to invest to ensure their own country's supply. However, considering the annual consumption amount of the product, the variety of quality and the size of the market, it will take a long time for new local investors to gain a foothold in the market and to meet all the supply needs of the market and threaten the existence of our brands.

In addition, as in every industry, the management and administration of profit points and supply chains in a secure and sustainable customs regime and reciprocity will be the most important factor here. Our country's industrialists are ready for this competition with their logistics advantages and existing connections and experiences at global supply points.

In our country, institutions representing the public and private sectors have a culture and mechanisms to develop a protective strategy for our important markets by working together in coordination and within the framework of a plan. At this point, I think that with the cooperation of the public and private sectors, Iraqi and Turkish industrialists will reach a balance within a fair and reasonable competition in the flour trade.

You are also the general secretary of the Turkish Flour Industrialists' Federation (TFIF). While wheat markets are going through a difficult period, you took responsibility for the sector and took part in the management of TFIF. What are your priorities and goals in TFIF? 

Our priority is to bring the unity and solidarity of our industry, the culture and tradition of joint decision-making and strategy production to a new level. We want to operate as a clear communication channel that will determine the real needs and demands of the sector with the relevant public institutions in consensus. We want to be the voice of an efficient communication mechanism that can produce permanent solutions. We aim to transform TFIF into a sector power that can produce solutions to the demands and needs of stakeholders.

In order to maintain our leading position in the world flour export, we want to keep all the necessary dynamics up to date with vigorous and rational communication, to renew our strength in existing markets, and to be active and effective in new markets. By increasing our export figures, we plan to become a sector that produces benefits for the country's economy and investors.

As the Turkish Flour Industrialists' Federation, our main goal is to overcome this difficult period of crises and uncertainties, both in domestic supply channels and in exports, with the least damage and to create a strong industry union. We are aware of the need to increase our country's wheat production to a self-sufficient level in a sustainable way as soon as possible by working in coordination with our state and related institutions. In this regard, presenting the valuable ideas of our stakeholders as projects and putting them into practice will be our most important priority and focus.

Wheat harvest has started in Turkey. What is your yield expectation? And in particular, could you share production prospects for the Southeast Anatolia region?

 I think 2022 is a tough test year for Turkish agriculture. Thanks to the rains, I expect that we will get a better yield in the new harvest season compared to the previous drought years. However, I disagree with the Turkish Statistical Institute, which expects a wheat harvest of 19 million tons. According to our research, Turkey will produce 17-17.5 million tons of wheat this season. I believe that 1.5-2 million tons of this amount will be low-quality wheat that the flour and pasta industry cannot use. I think we should make our calculations in this direction.

In the Southeastern Anatolia Region, there is a shift from wheat production to cotton, especially in Şanlıurfa and Mardin provinces, which are known as 'granaries'. Considering this, we observe that we will get a lower yield in the Southeastern Anatolia Region than last year. We forecast that the yield in the region, which was 4.5-5 million tons in previous years, will be around 3.5 million tons in this harvest season.

What do you think about the decision of the Turkish Grain Board to continue the flour regulation in order to prevent price fluctuations in the flour market?

I believe that the decision of the Turkish Grain Board in order to prevent price fluctuations in the market and to control bread prices within the scope of efforts to fight inflation is correct. This move relieved the market in uncertainty. In addition to the base price, the decision to give Premium to farmers in the sale of grain products to TMO is the right decision to increase the agricultural production of our country, to protect and develop the producers and to reduce the dependence on foreign countries. The support given by the Ministry of Agriculture to our farmers every year, taking into account the Producer Price Index, always produces positive results. In addition, we are pleased that the Turkish Grain Board carefully monitors the price regulation practice in order not to turn a blind eye to stockists and opportunists in the market.

Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers and industry stakeholders?

Turkish flour industrialists have taken responsibility in difficult times and successfully overcame global threats and economic shocks many times. I would like to underline that we have full confidence in ourselves and our industry thanks to the knowledge and experience we have. I wish good luck to all our stakeholders, who spend their precious time with us. And thank you for giving us the opportunity to share our messages.

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