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Country Briefs

  Turkey

Reference Date: 19-January-2017

FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  1. After autumn dryness, crops rely on winter precipitation for emergence and establishment

  2. New support programme for agricultural products starting in 2017

  3. Cereal production in 2016 decreased from previous year’s record harvest

  4. Higher cereal imports forecast in 2016/17, exports expected to remain stable

  5. Food inflation increases

After autumn dryness, crops rely on winter precipitation for emergence and establishment

Planting of the 2017 winter barley and wheat started in mid‑September and concluded in early December. An autumn drought was reported across the major producing area following a lack of significant precipitation between the end of September and early November 2016. Abundant precipitation, which resumed in December and continued in January, was likely to be too late for the establishment of winter grains in the colder growing areas such as Anatolian Plateau which became dormant by late November following a cold spell. However, dormant crops rely on winter precipitation for spring emergence and establishment. Although snow cover across Turkey remained highly variable, the deepest snow coincided with the coldest temperature readings providing sufficient coverage for dormant crops.

New support programme for agricultural products starting in 2017

A new subsidy allocation system for agricultural products, called the National Agriculture Project, will be implemented from early 2017. The Project aims to diversify Turkey’s agricultural production, increase productivity and reduce the planted area of water-intensive crops such as rice and soybeans in drought-prone areas. Within the new scheme, Turkey is divided into 941 agricultural basins based on climate and soil categories to subsidize specific crops for each zone. In total, 19 strategic crops, including wheat, barley, maize, rye, oats, triticale, paddy rice and forage crops will be subsidized. Only wheat and forage crops will be subsidized in each basin.

Cereal production in 2016 decreased from previous year’s record harvest

The final crop production estimates from the Turkish Statistical Institute indicate a 9 percent decline in cereal production in 2016 compared to the record-breaking 2015 harvest, while it is on a par with the five year average. Wheat production decreased by 9 percent to 20.6 million tonnes, barley production by 16 percent to 6.7 million tonnes, while maize production remained stable. The decrease was attributed to the uneven and untimely rains. Despite generous rainfall in May 2016, some of the rainfed fields in Central Anatolia, Cukurova and Southeast regions remained affected by drought conditions, resulting in lower yields of wheat and barley.

Higher cereal imports forecast in 2016/17, while exports expected to remain stable

Turkey is both a cereal importer and exporter, importing wheat and exporting wheat products such as pasta and flour. Under the current importing regime, exporters of wheat products are eligible to obtain special import licenses when they export wheat flour, pasta, biscuits, etc. These licences are currently traded at USD 100 per tonne.

In the 2016/17 marketing year (July/June), aggregate cereal imports, mainly wheat, are forecast to increase to 7.3 million tonnes (up 29 percent) compared to last year’s 5.6 million tonnes. The Russian Federation is historically the leading supplier of wheat. The imported wheat is used primarily for processing.

Cereal exports, mainly wheat flour and durum wheat, are forecast to remain stable at 4.6 million tonnes, some 30 percent above the five year average. Turkey remains one of the leading exporters of wheat flour in the world. Iraq, the Sudan and the Syrian Arab Republic account for over 60 percent of Turkey’s total exports of wheat products.

Food inflation increased in December 2016

Latest figures from the Turkish Statistical Institute indicate an annual food inflation rate of 5.65 percent in December 2016 compared to 3.55 percent in November 2016. The overall CPI in December 2016 stood at 8.53 percent up from 7 percent in November 2016, supported mainly by the increases in prices of tobacco and alcoholic beverages.

Stable number of Syrian Arab Republic refugees

According to UNHCR, the total number of Syrian Arab Republic refugees in the neighbouring countries exceeded 4.8 million by early January 2017, mostly residing in Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq. The number of Syrian Arab Republic refugees in the region started increasing towards the end of 2013, and grew steadily until early 2016. The number of Syrian Arab Republic refugees registered in Turkey was estimated at about 2.8 million, stable since March 2016. However, a large number of refugees is probably not being registered.