Türkiye can become safe grain hub: Expert

Türkiye can store and transport Black Sea grain products, says head of International Association of Operative Millers - Eurasia.

Türkiye can become safe grain hub: Expert

Citing recent events in the Black Sea grain trade, the head of the International Association of Operative Millers - Eurasia said there is reason to believe Türkiye can be a safe grain transit hub or even storage point.

Like the East-West energy corridor, there is a North-South corridor in grain, Eren Gunhan Ulusoy told Anadolu Agency, adding that the former Soviet republics bordering the Black Sea produce and export grain, which puts Türkiye in an important position in the grain market.

Türkiye also boasts an infrastructure with storage and discharge capacity at its ports and licensed warehousing capacity of 8.5 million tons, he noted.

Touching on this summer’s historic grain corridor agreement, he said when the world faced a crisis, Türkiye played its diplomatic role well to reopen the corridor.

Türkiye, the UN, Russia, and Ukraine signed the agreement on July 22 in Istanbul to resume Black Sea grain exports, which were paused after the Russia-Ukraine war began in February.

And when Russia briefly exited the deal, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan helped bring it back.

On Nov. 19, the agreement is set to expire and at this point, though with hopes it will be renewed, and Türkiye has already taken responsibility for the security and control of the grain corridor, he underlined.

With its storage capacity, Türkiye can store grain from the Black Sea and transport them to the world from safe ports.

"Why do we call it safe harbors? Today the grain corridor is open, but sending and loading ships under conditions of war isn’t easy, as ports were bombed and missiles were dropped," he said.

After the product is swiftly brought to Türkiye, ships can access world markets from many Turkish ports, including Samsun, Tekirdag, Izmir, Mersin, and Iskenderun, he said.

Türkiye is an important agricultural country with a grain production of 35-38 million tons annually, wheat production at 19-20 million tons, while both barley and corn production at 8 million tons each, he added.

He said Türkiye is also the largest flour exporter in the world.

Needy countries

Citing Russia's statement that some 500,000 tons of wheat could be sent to poor countries, Ulusoy said this would amount to humanitarian aid worth $200 million.

Over the last three months, the UN World Food Program (WFP) has already granted 180,000 tons of wheat for needy countries.

“We can’t solve the hunger problem with 500,000 tons, that won’t end hunger, but of course, every effort to reduce hunger is valuable,” he said.

"We need the fall in prices brought by the regulation of the supply-demand balance in the world."

He also said Türkiye is an important supplier to the WFP as it is a country close to needy regions such as Africa and the Middle East.

The WFP is currently processing the grain in Türkiye, procuring raw material through the grain corridor, producing food in Türkiye, and sending it to needy regions, he said.

Ulusoy is also the head of Ulusoy Gida, Türkiye’s fourth-largest food company, which officially opened its new flour factory last week in the country's Black Sea province of Samsun.

The factory, which can process 2,085 tons of grain daily, has a storage area for 70,000 tons of grain and 12,000 tons of flour.

The high-tech factory was built on a strategic location close to Samsun's ports.

Hüseyin Demir

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