Turkey to Import More Wheat for Feed as Drought Persists

TURKEY - The country imported feed ingredients worth US$3 billion in 2013, and the wheat harvest id forecast to be only two-thirds of last year's due to a prolonged drought.
calendar icon 13 March 2014
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Turkey, the seventh-largest country in the world in terms of agricultural production capacity, imported six million tons of animal feed worth US$3 billion, in 2013, due to the country's inadequate production to meet domestic demand, reports CIHAN.

According to a recent report prepared by the Animal Husbandry Council and launched at the seventh Sectoral Economy Council meeting on Tuesday, the country's dependence on animal feed imports and the increasing depreciation of the Turkish lira against the US dollar, which has been ongoing since the second half of 2013, have increased the costs of animal husbandry.

Speaking at the council meeting organised by the Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges (TOBB) this week, President of the Turkish Feed Manufacturers' Association (TÜRK?YEM-B?R), Ülkü Karaku?, stressed that animal feed imports have been increasing every year and that the increase in agricultural production is failing to meet the demand for animal feed.

He said animal feed imports have increased by five to 10 per cent every year and that they would increase from six million tons to seven million tons in 2014.

In order to decrease the amount of feed being imported, the Animal Husbandry Council has stated that feed crop plantation and efficient usage of grazing lands should be promoted. The council also urged the Food, Agriculture and Animal Husbandry Ministry to devise a production plan, taking the climate and land conditions into consideration, in order to increase feed crop production while demanding a seasonal reduction in the customs tax imposed on feed crop imports.

Meanwhile, only seven animal husbandry companies have been ranked among Turkey's top 1,000 firms, while only three of them were ranked in the first 500. The recent report also shows that the export of animal products constituted only 0.5 per cent of Turkey's total export volume in 2013.

Currently, Turkey ranks first in the European Union and is the seventh-largest country in the world in terms of its agricultural production capacity.

Speaking at the opening event of the Federation of Food and Drink Industry Associations of Turkey (TGDF) Food Congress 2013 in November of last year, Food, Agriculture and Animal Husbandry Minister, Mehdi Eker, said Turkey will be among the top five countries for agricultural production, amounting to US$150 billion by 2023, and will continue to produce high-quality, safe and sufficient food for its population.

Yet, Turkey's wheat harvest is expected to drop by 14.3 per cent this year due to a serious threat of further drought, according to a recent report prepared by the Turkish Union of Agricultural Chambers (TZOB), reports CIHAN.

According to the TZOB's report on drought risk assessment, it is likely that the low rainfall seen in the September 2013-February 2014 period will pull the wheat crop yield to below 19 metric tons in 2014. One of Europe's largest wheat producers, Turkey harvested a record 22.1 million metric tons in 2013, according to the Turkish Statistics Institute (TurkStat).

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