Malaysia is considering importing wheat from Turkey to diversify its food sources amid the worldwide battle with soaring prices and supply bottlenecks.
The issue is expected to be widely discussed during Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s four-day trip to Turkey.
Yaakob, who arrived in the country Wednesday, said food security would be one of the key components during meetings with heads of industries in Turkey, according to the Malaysian national news agency Bernama.
Speaking after meeting with representatives from nine government-linked companies, Yaakob said Malaysia is seeking deeper relations with Turkiye while exploring opportunities to lure more investment back to his country as well as sourcing for food items such as wheat flour.
The prime minister noted that one-third of the world’s wheat production comes from Ukraine and Russia, but the war between the two countries coupled with India’s decision to reduce wheat exports have put “tremendous pressure” on the supply of the staple food, adding that the Malaysian government continues to provide subsidies to “reduce the burden of the people.”
The World Food Programme (WFP) warned back in Match that the war in Ukraine is creating an agricultural crisis unseen since World War II. The situation has only worsened since then, with Ukrainian grain stranded in the country and exporters unable to sell it to world markets.
Turkiye produces approximately 29 million tons of wheat annually and is a net exporter of the commodity.
Ankara has also been playing a mediator role between Kyiv and Moscow to enable Ukraine to sell its grain to international markets.
Malaysia imports 80% of its wheat from Australia and the rest from the United States, Canada and Ukraine, according to Malaysia’s Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs.
Yaakob was accompanied on his visit to Turkiye by Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Adham Baba and Abdul Latiff Ahmad, a minister in the Prime Minister’s Department for Special Functions.
The Turkish companies and corporations that attended the meeting with Yaakob included Turkiye’s military pension fund Oyak, the Scientific and Technological Research a Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK), the Turkish Wealth Fund (TWF), Gama Enerji, Tuyar, EMS Mobil and defense and shipbuilding giants FNSS, Istanbul Shipyard and Havelsan.
Various corporations from Malaysia also attended the meeting, namely, Khazanah Nasional Bhd, the Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology (MIGHT) Boustead Holdings Bhd, Tenaga Nasional Bhd and SilTerra Malaysia Sdn Bhd.