By Gokhan Ergocun
ISTANBUL (AA) - Turkey will close the year as the world's largest flour exporter, said director of the International Association of Operative Millers (IAOM) Eurasia.
Turkey is expected to reach 3.3 million tons of flour exports in 2019 and 3.5 million tons in 2020, Gunhan Ulusoy, who is also the head of the Turkish Flour Industrialists Federation (TFIF), told Anadolu Agency.
While Iraq's share in Turkey's overall flour exports was 50% in 2018, Ulusoy said, it dropped to 40% in the first 10 months of 2019.
Despite this decline, Turkey's flour exports are expected to reach 3.3 million tons at the end of the current year, which is the same level as the last year, he noted, and said the deficit was overcome with flour exports to Yemen.
"With this figure, Turkey will close 2019 as the largest flour exporter in the world with its well-developed flour industry and wide export market," Ulusoy said.
The country is expected to reach around 3-3.5 million tons of flour export next year, he added.
The country's flour export, which was about 170,000 tons in 2001, rose by 20 times to reach 3.3 million tons last year.
Turkey, which is also the second-largest pasta exporter globally, has earned $22 billion by exporting flour products over the last decade.
- 20M tons of wheat production
The flour sector is not affected by the global trade wars, as Turkey exported flour to 92 countries in the first 10 months of 2019, Ulusoy underlined.
Touching on Turkey's production, he said the country's annual wheat production is around 20 million tons.
"Despite decreasing wheat cultivation sites, the country's production has been standing at the same level due to increasing productivity," he added.
However, he said cultivation sites should be increased as the wheat production may reduce due to environmental conditions.
Turkey, which has around 540 active flour factories, is the eighth-largest country in wheat production with 19-20 million tons annually.
The country's wheat production cannot meet the demand of flour product exporters, who make wheat imports.
- Eurasia makes 55% of global wheat exports
The Eurasia region hosts the most important countries in wheat and wheat flour sectors, Ulusoy underlined.
He recalled that the IAOM Eurasia represents 32 countries with over 2 billion population and the economic size of $7.1 trillion economic.
"This region makes 55% of the world’s 12-million-ton flour exports," he noted.
He added the IAOM Eurasia, which made its first managing board meeting last November, plans to organize a congress in the last quarter of 2020.