Bulgur, Türkiye keen to gain market shares
The world is desperately looking for ways to ship wheat from Ukraine to prevent a hunger crisis in poorer countries. As Turkey is the leading producer of bulgur and demand has risen steadily in recent years, the prospects for the export market are excellent. India imposing an export ban for wheat bulgur has certainly gained additional attention.
Exceptional circumstances for wheat
Russia and Ukraine supply more than 25% of the world's wheat, and the brutal war is threatening to confront millions of people worldwide with hunger, especially in countries largely dependent on imports. The International Grains Council (IGC) recently estimated global wheat production for 2021/2022 at 781 million mt, which is 7 million mt up on 2020/2021, and consumption at 778 million mt, which is 7 million mt up on last year. The trouble is, however, not only that Russia is preventing wheat from being shipped from Ukraine but also that India has imposed an export ban to secure domestic supplies after a heatwave in March caused extensive damage and inflation is soaring.
Prospects are, by contrast, more encouraging in Turkey, where wheat production should range at 20 million mt this year, and hopes have shifted from India to the country at the Black Sea Coast. This also has implications for bulgur, which is one of the oldest foods made from wheat in Anatolia. The advantage is that this food contains many valuable minerals and vitamins, and demand is rising. Several countries, such as the United States, Canada, and France, have invested heavily in production since around 2010 and play a leading role in the export market. Turkey has, however, remained the production center for bulgur, which is generated in strict accordance with the "Bulgur Communique" issued by the Ministry of Food, Agriculture, and Livestock.
Exports climbed steadily until 2020. While Turkey exported 212,000 mt of bulgur in 2014, this figure hit 282,486 mt in 2020 before declining to 238,139 mt in 2021. Exports ranged from 83,142 mt in January to March this year. Gaziantep supplies more than half of the volumes exported and accounts for 50% of annual production in Turkey, which ranges at 1.200 million mt. Average export prices have also dropped. (Mundus-agri)