ANKARA, TURKEY — Turkey is expected to increase wheat production by 1 million tonnes in 2022-23, even as farmers face skyrocketing input costs, according to a report from the Foreign Agricultural Service of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Wheat production is estimated at 17 million tonnes. About 2 million tonnes of that is expected to be durum wheat. Area harvested is projected to contract by 300,000 hectares but improved weather conditions are expected to increase yields.
Costs for fertilizer and fuel have increased significantly because of a weaker Turkish lira, rising international commodity prices, supply chain issues and the war in Ukraine, the USDA said.
In response, the government raised the support payments to wheat farmers for fertilizer and diesel and provided a onetime, extra payment to specifically offset higher fertilizer costs. However, wheat farmers don’t think these payments are enough to fully cover these higher costs.
“There is concern that some wheat farmers may reduce fertilizer use to save on cost, which could impact yields and overall production amounts,” the USDA said.
Wheat consumption is forecast at 21 million tonnes, up 200,000 tonnes from the previous year due to increasing household demand for wheat-based products.
Imports of wheat are forecast up year-over-year by 1 million tonnes to 11 million tonnes in response to growing demand for bread and other wheat-based products. Most of the wheat imported was from Russia and Ukraine. According to market sources, Turkey continues to import wheat from Russia. At the same time, with supply chain uncertainties in both Russia and Ukraine, Turkey appears to be looking for alternative suppliers as a backup, the USDA said. For example, Turkey has increased its imports from Romania and Moldova this year. And, in March of this year, Turkey imported 230,000 tonnes of wheat from Argentina, a less common supplier of wheat to Turkey.
Wheat exports in 2022-23 are forecast at 6.65 million tonnes, up year-over-year by 100,000 million tonnes, assuming available supplies of imported wheat for processing and re-export and growing demand in regional markets.
Flour exports are estimated at 3.1 million tonnes in 2021-22, up year-over-year due to stronger-than-expected export demand.
Turkey is the world’s largest flour exporter. Iraq historically has been the single largest destination for Turkish flour. However, demand is expected to trend downward in the coming years as Iraq invests in its flour milling capacity. In response, the Turkish industry is looking for new markets in Africa.
In 2021, the leading African destination for Turkish flour was Djibouti, the USDA said.