Türkiye has ramped up its wheat production as part of efforts to mitigate the drought threat that is sweeping the world to avoid any potential disruption in food supply, according to an industry official.
Haluk Tezcan, the head of the Turkish Flour Industry Federation (TUSAF), hailed what he said was a perfect harvest season this year, stressing growing efficiency in wheat output even in dry areas.
“We have enough wheat stocks to last us until the next harvest,” Tezcan told the Turkish Sabah daily. “We are continuing to produce wheat, and our efficiency is high. In previous years, we were heavily affected by the effects of global warming. On the other hand, this year, even in the areas we call barren land, productivity has increased significantly.”
Türkiye’s wheat harvest has reached an all-time high, with 21 million tons produced this year, up from 19 million tons last year. The figure means Türkiye can easily meet its own demand as it consumes about 19 million tons of wheat a year.
The output surplus will be processed into flour and pasta for export.
Tezcan sees exports increasing this year, saying, “Our wheat stock will take us comfortably until harvest season next year.”
He said the country was well-positioned to serve as the global wheat warehouse, stressing what he said was Türkiye’s success in milling, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tezcan cited the Black Sea Grain Initiative, which was brokered by Türkiye and the United Nations in July 2022 and sought to ensure global food security by allowing the grain to flow from Ukrainian ports blocked by Russia’s invasion of its neighbor.
Russia announced Monday it was pulling out of the deal, stressing demands regarding the exports of its own agricultural shipments had not been met.
The accord particularly ensured grain flow to countries in Asia, the Middle East and Africa, where hunger is a growing threat and high food prices have pushed more people into poverty.
The wartime initiative, with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as its powerful sponsor, proved what Tezcan says is Türkiye’s ability to host the entire world’s entire milling sector.
“The world is watching Türkiye’s success closely. For these reasons, Türkiye has demonstrated and continues to show that it is a candidate to become the wheat warehouse of the world with increasing confidence in every environment,” he noted.
In the first four months of 2023, Türkiye exported about 965.42 million tons of flour, generating a revenue of some $442.2 million. This year’s overall figure is expected to exceed the $3 billion in exports made in 2022.
Tezcan emphasized that the climate crisis affects the world and will increasingly impact Türkiye every year.
“We will experience this more intensely each year. In this sense, we need to increase our precautions. We must keep our stocks consistently full,” he noted.
Tezcan also stressed Türkiye needed to develop drought-resistant varieties, from the cultivation fields to planting areas, and share the effects of the climate crisis with its farmers, developing a structure that will be least affected.
“The state is also putting a lot of effort into this. NGOs, ourselves, and the media are drawing attention to the sensitivity of this issue. We are informing our farmers about this matter. Like the rest of the world, Türkiye will successfully overcome this process.”