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World Bulgur Market and Turkey

13 January 20168 min reading
Interest and demand for bulgur has increased since the valuable features of it were found out and the world population has increased. The reason increasing the value of bulgur is that it is inexpensive, tasteful, nutritional, easy to prepare and long lasting. The interest for bulgur has also increased the world bulgur trade. The biggest bulgur supplier in the world is Turkey. Turkey which has 99 bulgur factories exported 212 thousand tons of bulgur in 2014 and 150 thousand tons in the first 8 months of 2015.  arastr73 Bulgur which is made from wheat is one of the oldest foods of Anatolia. Considered among grains, bulgur is a significant source of economy and carbohydrate and also a valuable foodstuffs because the core and bran involved in wheat contain minerals like magnesium and chrome, dietary fibers, some phenols, phytates and selenium; and also all the B vitamins except B12. Turkish Pasta, Bulgur, Pulses and Vegetable Oil Promotion Group (MBGT) and many other sources list the benefits of bulgur as follows: • Bulgur is highly rich in fibers that are known to reduce the fat in blood so it has a significant role in intestinal activities. Besides, bulgur has a significant role in controlling weight since it has low Glycemic index; mixes the blood slowly and keep the consumer filled. • It is rich in carbohydrate and it has low protein value. • B1 vitamins in bulgur have significant role in the nerve and digestive systems. These vitamins should be consumed regularly to avoid Beriberi disease. • It is highly important for children and pregnant women since it contains folic acid. It contributes to development of intelligence in children. • It has unsaturated fat and it is healthy as its total fat rate is low. • It does not have cholesterol so it reduces the risk of heart and coronary diseases. • Phytic acid, the most significant disadvantage of grains, is not included in bulgur due to cooking and drying processes that bulgur undergoes. • It accelerates nutrient absorption, prevents constipation and intestinal cancer thanks to its high mineral and cellulose content. • It does not absorb radiation, it is resistant to radiation. Therefore it is kept in stock in case of nuclear wars possibility and both for military and civil use in some countries. • Its nutritional value is higher than the other products (bread, pasta) since food stuffs involved in germ penetrate to the kernel during the cooking process. • It is resistant to fungal growth and its shelf life is longer than the other products due to cooking and drying processes. • As it is used in various meals and salads it provides a range of utilization forms. All these features make bulgur one of the most significant foodstuffs in the world when compared to pulses. Some sources state that bulgur is more nutritious than rice and couscous. Basically, bulgur is divided into two main groups as golden and brown due to its color. The raw material of golden bulgur is hard durum wheat; the raw material of brown bulgur is bezostaja or golia wheat types. These products which have different colors also have different flavors. These two main groups can be categorized as extra coarse Bulghur, coarse bulghur, köftelik bulgur (another name is düğü-düğürcük bulgur), Midyat bulgur and çiğ köftelik bulgur as to their size. PRODUCTION PROCESS OF BULGUR The main production center of bulgur in the world is Turkey. Production process of bulgur in Turkey which has a complicated production process is determined in “Bulgur Communiqué” published by The Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock. The quality of the product depends on the type and quality of used wheat, cooking method and drying temperature. Quality durum wheat is preferred while producing bulgur in today’s modern mills. During the first phase of the process, the wheat to be processed is separated from fodder, dust, stones, other grains and impaired kernels and then it is washed. Then wheat which is cooked with water is taken to drying process. The traditional drying process is realized under the sun and this prevents the production to be realized in winter. However, drying towers appeared along with the developing technology and production could be realized in winter too. In the continuation of production, cooked and dried wheat kernels are hulled first and then undergo breaking process and they are polished. Polished bulgur pieces are taken to sorting process once again and separated from dark colored pieces in order to obtain amber color. Possible metal pieces are separated from the product by metal detectors installed in partitions and/or packaging phase along with all these processes above. Then the product is packaged. The whole production process that we summarized shortly has many details in itself. PRODUCTION AMOUNT OF BULGUR AND PRODUCTION INDUSTRY It is known that industrial bulgur production started in Karaman to meet the requirements of the army during the WWI in Turkey which is the biggest bulgur producer in the world. Karaman, Gaziantep, İçel and Çorum became the top bulgur producing cities of Turkey in 1990. According to the data of Turkish Grain Board, there are 99 bulgur factories in Turkey by 2014. While installed capacity of these factories is 1 million 595 thousand 421 tons/year actual capacity is 900 thousand 544 tons/year. In other words, the rate of capacity utilization is around 56 percent. Production amount is around 1 million tons according to the report published by International Grain Council in 2011. As to the mentioned report, bulgur production of Turkey which is 722 thousand tons in 1984 increased to 856.000 tons in 1992. It is estimated that bulgur industry in Turkey has developed rapidly and has obtained production amount of 1 million tons in the last 10 years. Countries like USA, Canada and France have invested in bulgur production to a large extent especially after 2000s and they have established bulgur factories. Especially USA is one of the prominent countries in bulgur export. Italy, Kazakhstan and Algeria which are among the durum wheat producers produce bulgur although it is not a part of their traditional cuisine. There are bulgur factories in Lebanon, Sweden, Argentina and Syria and the amount of them increases day by day. The biggest issue in bulgur production seems to be raw material. Hard wheat which is rich in protein and golden pigments; has low lipoxygenase enzyme activity should be used. The production amount of hard wheat, namely durum wheat, which is homogeneous and disease-free; has low foreign matters is not at the targeted level. According to the Bulgur Sector Report prepared by İpekyolu Development Agency, the global production amount of durum wheat which is the main raw material of bulgur is 34.4 million tons in 2010/11 season. Turkey is the forth country after EU, Canada and USA with a production amount of 3.8 million tons. WORLD BULGUR DEMAND AND BULGUR TRADE Interest and demand for bulgur has increased since the valuable features of it were found out and the world population has increased. The reason increasing the value of bulgur is that it is inexpensive, tasteful, nutritional, easy to prepare and long lasting. The interest for bulgur has also increased the world bulgur trade. The biggest bulgur supplier in the world is Turkey. Turkey which has 99 bulgur factories exported 212 thousand tons of bulgur in 2014 and 150 thousand tons in the first 8 months of 2015. As to the Bulgur Sector Report of İpekyolu Development Agency, 152 countries imported bulgur in 2010. Iraq, Haiti, Syria and Germany are among leading countries. Countries like Niger, Belgium, Liberia, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Portugal, France, Zimbabwe, England, Sweden, Jordan and Israel follow Germany. Traded bulgur amount in this period is 210 thousand tons. The biggest exporter is Turkey. As to the grain sector report of TMO: Turkey exported 122 thousand tons of bulgur with a value of 70 million dollars. 19 million dollar of mentioned export amount was sent to EU countries; 45 million dollars of it was sent to Middle East countries. Iraq comes first with 29 million dollar in Turkey’s exports in 2011, as usual. Belgium with 8 million dollar, Syria with 7 million dollar, Germany with 5 million dollar, Saudi Arabia with 3 million dollars, Israel and Sierra Leone with 2 million dollars, England and Liberia with 1 million dollars follow Iraq. Bulgur export amount which remained nearly the same in 2012 increased significantly in 2013. As to the data of TMO, bulgur export of Turkey which is 160 thousand tons in 2013 reached 212 thousand tons in 2014. Moreover, among cereals, the highest growth rate was realized in bulgur in 2014. According to the statement of MBTG President Surur Aydın that was given in September, bulgur export reached to 150 thousand tons with an increase of 5 percent despite all the problems in the world. In the previous season, bulgur export amount was 142 thousand tons. The value of export amount in 2015 is around 87 million dollar. The second bulgur exporter in the world is USA. Bulgur has already been produced in USA for years. Upon the scientific studies on the benefits of bulgur, demand and production investments for bulgur have increased. As a result of USA government’s promotion works, USA exports bulgur in large amounts to Korea, Africa and Arab countries. Countries like Belgium, Germany and France follow USA.
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