‘Yemen shines in flourmarket with rising demand’

Monitoring Desk

ANKARA: Rising demand for imported flour in Yemen is taking up a growing share of Turkish exports, the head of a prominent flour trade group told Anadolu Agency. Turkey’s flour exports to Yemen this January to May totaled 250,000 tons, fully 18% of its total flour exports, said GunhanUlusoy, chairman of the International Association of Operative Millers (IAOM) Eurasia Leadership Council.

“In general, there is an upward trend in demand from Africa while 10 years ago the rise in Pacific Asia was on the agenda,” he added.

However, Ulusoy — who is also head of the Turkish Flour Industrialists’ Federation (TFIF) — highlighted how Africa’s wheat demand is easily outpacing its rising population. “Africa’s population rose 32% while wheat demand jumped 68% over the last decade.

“This trend is expected to continue in the coming 10 years,” he said. Africa’s wheat demand rose 4% year-on-year in 2019, Ulusoy noted.

Turkey also got a slice of the cake, with its exports rising to the continent.

“Turkey has an advantageous location between wheat supplier [countries] and wheat product demanding countries,” he said.

Africa rising

Touching on last week’s annual International Grain Council (IGC) conference in London, Ulusoy said sector representatives from Africa showed great interest in the gathering in order to attract agricultural investment.

“Africa is an important market for our sector. We aim to enhance trade relations with the continent,” he said.

Ulusoy said the considerable gap between the corn crop and corn consumption was one of the main topics at the conference.

“According to IGC data, the wheat crop is satisfying, but the amount of corn crop doesn’t meet its consumption, with a gap of 33 million tons,” he explained.

The world wheat crop is expected to reach 766 million tons while its consumption is around 753 million tons, he said, referring to IGC data.

But data shows corn crop production is projected to hit 1,118 million tons, falling short of its consumption of 1,151 million tons.

Top flour exporter

Ulusoy stressed how that the amount of flour exported to Iraq, Turkey’s top flour export market, dipped below 100,000 tons for the first time since April 2016.

“The sector’s exports to Iraq reached 97,000 tons in May. We compensated for this with the rise in exports to Yemen,” he said.

In the first five months of this year, Turkey’s total flour exports rose 3% on a yearly basis to 1.38 million tons, Ulusoy said.

Turkey has been the world’s top flour exporter for the last six years, and it hopes to export flour to over 100 countries.

Last year, Turkey exported nearly 3.5 million tons of flour, or nearly one-third of the world’s total flour exports.

Turkey’s wheat crop last year was around 21.5 million metric tons (MMT), according to the Agriculture and Forestry Ministry.

The country consumed 20.5MMT of wheat in 2018, says ministry data. Turkey imports nearly 4MMT of wheat every year, mostly to make flour, pasta, cookies, semolina, and bulgur for export. In other words, imported wheat makes up the raw material for exported goods, according to the ministry. (AA)