ANKARA, TURKEY — Due to severe drought, Turkey’s 2021-22 wheat production is down 2 million tonnes, to 16.25 million tonnes, according to a report from the Foreign Agricultural Service of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Looking ahead to next year, rainfall levels from October to December were better compared to the same period a year ago. However, the rising cost of agricultural inputs and the government’s continued market interventions may dampen spring planting decisions, the USDA said.

Wheat import estimates for 2021-22 are revised slightly downward to 10.8 million tonnes but remain 2.7 million tonnes higher than the previous year because of the increased need for imports resulting from the drought losses.

According to the Turkish Statistic Institute (TUIK), Turkey’s wheat imports during the first six months of 2021-22 increased by 20% year-over-year, reaching 5.3 million tonnes. Russia and Ukraine were the main suppliers.

Turkey’s wheat exports, including wheat products, are forecast slightly higher at 6.55 million tonnes, which is close to the previous year’s export level. This estimate assumes better flour exports than last year, and stable exports of pasta and transshipped wheat to neighboring countries.

Turkey’s wheat flour exports during the first six months of 2021-22 were just above last year’s exports of the same period, reaching 1.67 million tonnes.

Turkey continues to struggle with food inflation, which stems from major grain production losses, depreciation of the Turkish lira, rising international commodity prices and higher input costs.

The Turkish government has undertaken various measures to minimize rising inflation. On Dec. 31, 2021, the government extended its zero-import duty for corn, wheat, barley, rye, and oats throughout calendar year 2022.

In addition to tariff cuts, in the summer of 2021, President Erdogan instructed the Turkish Grain Board (TMO) to initiate a “Flour and Feed Regulation Action,” which is a long-term strategy for regulating flour and feed prices. As part of this action, TMO announced it would purchase and sell imported grains to industry end-users at a discount until the next harvest to stabilize prices in the country, the USDA said.