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Türkiye’s durum wheat breakthrough spares pasta fans of new price pain!

Türkiye’s remarkable success as a durum wheat exporter has prevented pasta enthusiasts from enduring another year of price increases, positioning the country to maintain its vital role as a critical supplier of the valued ingredient in Mediterranean cuisine.

Durum wheat

On track to be the world’s second-largest durum exporter in 2023/24, Türkiye has helped fill a supply gap caused by a second drought in three years in top supplier Canada and stifled a price surge seen at the season’s start.

Global stocks of durum are still forecast to hit a three-decade low this season, according to the International Grains Council, an intergovernmental body. But Turkish shipments have averted an immediate shortfall and kept durum in line with easing world prices of staple grains.

Previously a net importer of hard wheat, whose milled flour is used to make pasta, couscous, and certain types of bread in the Mediterranean region, Türkiye has taken the market by surprise by exporting around 1.5 million metric tons of durum so far in the 2023/24 season ending in June.

“Türkiye, by entering global markets as an exporter, changed the game,” said Aykut Göymen, chairperson of Türkiye’s pasta industry association (TMSD).

Aykut Göymen

“I can say that it was not a one-off thing, and it is sustainable for Türkiye to become a durum exporter in the coming years.”

Türkiye’s better-than-anticipated crop last year left stocks brimming following hefty imports made in response to high inflation and earlier drought.

Attractive prices for farmers, including a nearly 30% rise in the state’s purchase price last year and investment in irrigation, have boosted sowing and yields. Weakness in the Turkish lira has also made Turkish durum more competitive overseas.

With growers planting more and weather staying clement so far, Turkish production is widely expected to set a second straight record above 4 million tons this year.

That comfortably surpasses the country’s annual domestic consumption of up to 3 million tons. Demand from its large export-focused pasta industry has been curbed by a shift to using cheaper soft wheat for cost-conscious markets in Africa and Latin America.

Analysts anticipate another year of substantial exports, even if Canadian output recovers, with the 2024/25 volume seen potentially exceeding 1 million tons again.

Turkish shipments and sizable flows from Russia and Kazakhstan have been a boon for importers in Italy…

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