Namık Kemal Parlak
The world is getting used to living with the pandemic. In this nearly two-year period, the world countries once again comprehended the value of grain deeply and costly. The saying used to go 'he who controls the oil rules the world'. The value of food has begun to be appreciated much more deeply. So, now, he who controls the wheat and corn market will rule the world. Of course, we should also add water to the list.
Climate change and drought affect the wheat yield in many countries as is the case with Turkey. Turkey's wheat harvest, which used to be around 20 million tons in recent years, is expected to be between 18 and 18.5 million tons this year even according to the most optimistic estimates.
The Turkish government has imposed export restrictions on some products such as bulgur, pasta, and semolina so that the drought, which has been effective throughout the country this year, does not negatively affect the diet of the people and domestic production remains in the country. Accordingly, these products can be exported only if made from the wheat brought under the scope of the inward processing regime (DIR).
On the other hand, the obligation to use durum wheat in pasta production was abolished. Pasta production from 100 percent bread wheat was allowed. This is a step that will reduce the import of durum wheat. In addition, the farmers will lean towards grains, especially wheat, due to up to 40 percent increases in the purchase prices of these products announced by TMO.
Keeping the food stock at the highest level has become the first priority of countries. Especially grain markets experienced great mobility due to panic purchases. This boom is reflected in the data of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Global food prices saw the sharpest monthly increase in more than a decade in May, according to the FAO despite the record expected in world grain production.
The FAO Grain Price Index rose 6.0 percent in May. The increase was driven by global corn prices, which increased by 8.8 percent on a monthly basis and more than 89.9 percent on an annual basis. International wheat prices were also 6.8 percent higher on average in May compared to the previous month. The FAO Food Price Index rose 4.8 percent on a monthly basis and 39.7 percent on an annual basis, reaching 127.1 points, the highest figure in the last 10 years.
The monopoly of a few countries in exports of products such as corn, wheat, soybean, sunflower, and lentils is a major factor in price increases. The increase in these products, which are widely used in human and animal nutrition, causes inflation in food and feed prices. In short, he who leaves the fate of his own food at the mercy of other countries loses in this war.