ANKARA, TURKEY — A new government policy in Turkey designed to stabilize domestic flour prices is having a negative impact on a number of Turkish millers, according to a Feb. 16 Global Agricultural Information Network report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

In September 2018, the Turkish government began blocking exports of flour made from domestically-grown wheat. As part of the policy, Turkish millers are only able to export flour made from imported wheat.

“After this amendment, it took almost two months for millers to adjust to the new system,” the USDA said. “This was particularly difficult for those millers located in the Southeast of Turkey who generally utilize domestic wheat for flour exports.

“Flour exporters are compensating for these losses with sales in the last quarter of 2018. Although wheat flour exports have resumed, millers are reported to have cash flow issues. With the new system, Turkey’s wheat import figures are increasing in line with wheat flour export figures.”

The report said Turkey’s wheat flour exports during the first six months of 2018-19 were just below last year’s exports during the same period, reaching 1,727,000 tonnes (wheat equivalent) compared with 1,741,000 the previous year.

Iraq continues to be the leading importer at 850,000 tonnes during this time period, followed by Syria (192,000) and Angola (134,000).

Wheat imports during the first six months of 2018-19 were about 2.5 million tonnes, of which 2.4 million were milling wheat with the remaining 105,000 durum wheat, the report said.

The main supplier was Russia at 2.2 million tonnes, followed by Ukraine (124,000) and Kazakhstan (105,000).