World Bulghur Market and Turkey

04 February 20147 min reading
The fact that the advantages of bulghur such as nutritional value and economic cost, being able to be stored long time and being easy to prepare are understood well increases the demand for bulghur. Today, Turkey has an important position with its production and export amounts in this market. In Turkey where annual consumption per person is approximately 12 kg more than 1 million tons of bulghur is produced. Turkey’s biggest rival in bulghur production and trade is U.S.  Bulghur is a semi-product nutrient with a simple and typical production type in food sector, which is achieved after cleaning, cooking and drying of wheat and classifying after breaking it into specific dimensions. Bulghur which was discovered in Middle East and Mesopotamia in 2000s BC and has an extraordinary processing feature is characterized as an actual food source. In the last century production and consumption of bulghur have started in America, Europe and Africa. Bulghur which has spread into the world today is called with different names such as boulgur and burghoul. The types of bulghur produced today are Coarse Bulghur, Medium Bulghur, Fine Bulghur, Sefel kitel (Fine-not boiled Bulghur), Pounded-Pearled Bulghur and Sis Bulghur (Coarse-not pounded Bulghur)… INDUSTRIALIZATION PROCESS OF BULGHUR Bulghur which is intensely consumed in many countries such as Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Armenia and Egypt was first brought into industry sector and manufacturing by Turkey. The first plant to produce bulghur in Turkey was founded during World War I. Then together with the introduction of bulghur to America in 1950s and 1960s by the people who went there from Turkey and the foundation of the first plants, bulghur became an important product in U.S. American people opened bulghur introduction offices in India and other countries where rice is consumed in order to broaden the commercial quality of bulghur and they stocked it with military purposes and included bulghur in menus. In Turkey this development was backtracked. Actually, industrialization in this sector started early but advertising was insufficient. Turkey starting to industrialize in Republic period, family companies started to operate in bulghur sector. These plants were generally established in cities such as Karaman, Gaziantep, Corum, Icel and Sanliurfa where raw material could be found. In the researches performed in 2005, it was stated that the number of bulghur plants in Turkey was approximately 500. Today, this number is 100 to 200. However the decrease in the number of the plants has not resulted in a decrease in the production. In spite of the decrease in the number of the plants, increase in the capacity of the current plants has also increased the bulghur production. WORLD BULGHUR PRODUCTIONAND CONSUMPTION Turkey is the world’s largest producer of Bulghur. Bulghur, which is deeply rooted in Turkish culture, is currently being produced in factories utilizing state-of-the-art technologies using the most up-to-date production techniques. In Turkey where annual bulghur consumption per person is nearly 12 kg, more than 1 million ton of bulghur is produced. This production rate is nearly 2-2.5 times more than pasta production. According to the data of 2005, America is one of the most important bulghur producers with production of 250,000 tons. In recent years, new bulghur plants have been started to be opened in European countries and the number of bulghur plants have increased day by day. In spite of these developments, Turkey is still the biggest bulghur producer and technology developer in the world. Nearly 70% of bulghur production in Turkey is performed in Gaziantep. Today, Gaziantep is the center of bulghur technologies and production. Bulghur, consumption of which has dramatically increased in recent years following the understanding of its nutritional value is known to have superior features than bread, pasta and rice in terms of vitamin B1, phosphorous, potassium and calcium. Benefits of bulghur can be listed as follows: it decreases risk of cardiovascular disease as it does not contain cholesterol; it is a healthy food source because it contains unsaturated lipids; due to the fact that it is rich in minerals and cellulose, it speeds food absorption; prevents constipation and intestinal cancer; they do not absorb radiation. Therefore, they are products that are stocked by civilians and militaries against the threat of nuclear warfare; it is advised to be consumed by pregnant women due to its folic acid content. It contributes to children’s mental development; it is advised to be consumed by diabetics due to the fact that it has a slow rate of mixing into the bloodstream. It can also be used in diets as a weight controller if desired. Being understood of its nutritional value has caused a significant increase in bulghur production in the recent year. In Turkey where bulghur is a traditional wheat product produced and consumed in villages and homes, annual bulghur consumption per person is approximately 12 kg. However this consumption rate is even more in east and south of Turkey and Middle East countries such as Syria, Iraq, Iran, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia (25-35 kg/ per person). In this term, Middle East is a significant market for bulghur. Although it has more advantageous features than other grain-based products, bulghur consumption has not reached to the desired point in the world yet. The most important reason of this is that many societies still don’t know how to use and consume bulghur. However together with the contribution of various advertisement activities and efforts, bulghur consumption is envisaged to spread in the forthcoming years. WORLD BULGHUR TRADE The advantages of bulghur like combining the high nutritional value with reasonable price, having all the requirements of healthy nutrition; being stored and having high degree of endurance; remaining without the development of insects and without any spoilage for a long period increase the demand for bulghur in the world market. Bulghur import all around the world increased in 2006-2009 in a consistent way. Bulghur import which increased by 40% between 2006 and 2007 increased by 65% in 2007-2008. While world bulghur trade in 2006 was 54.9 million this rate reached to 134.5 million Dollars in 2009. Turkey is the biggest supplier of bulghur in the world. Bulghur export of Turkey has entered into a consistent increasing trend since 2006 and reached to 1 million tons. The biggest rival of Turkey as the world’s largest bulghur supplier is United States of America. The highest Bulghur export in European Union and Middle East countries is provided by Turkey. The most challenging competitor of Turkey in European Union is France. For the export performed in Middle East, Turkey is the only arbiter. However Turkey cannot achieve its superiority in Africa unlike European Union and Middle East. United States of America performs more export to Africa than Turkey. But the export figures of U.S. represent the food aid to the African countries by United Nations Development Program (UNDP). Most of the food aid made by UNDP to African countries is supplied by American and South African companies. Because of these reasons, Turkish companies are recommended to be more included in the supplier list of UNDP. It is stated that bulghur can be supplied to countries struggling against hunger over Turkey if Turkish companies become more active in this list. When the largest importers of the world are reviewed by countries; it is seen that Zimbabwe is located on the top of world bulghur trade. U.S. is the largest exporter to Zimbabwe but as we mentioned above, these rates represent the food aid provided to the country by UNDP. Iraq that follows Zimbabwe is the second most important bulghur importer. Iraq meets its whole bulghur need from Turkey. In the past years, neighbor countries also exported bulghur to Iraq but now Turkey is the leader supplier. The most important problems in this sector are money transfer and security because of the lack of an authority country. Together with the establishment of central authority in Iraq, Turkish companies and exporters will continue their existence more powerfully. According to the data of 2009; Germany, Haiti, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ruanda and France follow Iraq in world bulghur import.
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