The pasta industry is a significant and strategic production and export area suitable for the use of domestic input. According to IPO data, world pasta production has exceeded 17 million tons. We produce pasta, which we rank the second in the world in production, in 26 factories across the country. According to industry sources, Turkey's pasta production in 2020 is around 2.8 MT. 2.25 MT of this was exported to foreign markets, and the remaining 550 thousand tons were consumed domestically.
According to the data of the General Directorate for Exports operating under the Ministry of Commerce, 2020 World Pasta Exports amounted to 11.9 billion dollars. While Italy alone covers 3,570 million dollars, that is, 30 percent of the total, China ranks the second with 8 percent, South Korea ranks the third with a share of 7 percent, and Turkey ranks the fourth with a share of 6 percent. Turkey's pasta export in 2020 amounted to 761 million dollars.
The foreign exchange earned in the last 5 years from pasta exports has approached 3 billion dollars. Turkey realized 18% of global exports in volume terms in 2020. Our exports in 2020 increased by 15% in volume terms and 25% in value terms compared to the previous year. Turkey's per capita consumption in 2020 has reached the highest level of recent years with 8 kilograms.
The fact that the general wheat production in Turkey cannot meet the need goes for durum wheat as well. With the effect of drought in recent years, Turkey's wheat production has been decreasing rapidly. According to the statements of the sector representatives, wheat production decreased by 12-17 MT.
The problems experienced in agricultural production in recent years are also effective in substituting durum wheat with bread wheat in pasta production. In order for the pasta industry in Turkey to be able to supply raw materials from domestic sources, it is necessary to produce slightly more than the pasta production capacity, that is, 3 million tons. Moreover, durum wheat is the raw material of not only pasta but also different food products such as patisserie products and bulgur. In previous years, durum wheat production had reached 3-3.5 million tons. But in recent years, this level has not been reached.
Looking at the export markets of the Turkish Pasta industry, we can see that our biggest market is African countries and neighboring countries. Turkish pasta producers, which are active particularly in the African market, are in competition both within themselves and with rival countries to survive in this market. This inevitably leads to a reduction in the prices. Among the top 20 countries in World Pasta Export, unfortunately, Turkey is the country that applies the lowest price per ton. While the price of one ton of pasta of Turkey, which has a share of 6.4 percent in the world pasta export, is 519 dollars, the figure that Japan, whose share is 1.6 percent, receives from a ton of pasta export is 3,812 dollars.
The public authority, taking into account the markets in the country's pasta export, canceled the obligation to use durum wheat in the production of pasta as of October 2021. While some industry representatives support this decision, others defy it.
Abdülkadir Külahçıoğlu, Chairman of Pasta Industrialists' Association of Turkey, said, “We have no objection to the export of pasta made from bread wheat. On the contrary, if there is such a demand in the world, we want our manufacturer to meet it. However, when we make pasta from bread wheat, coarse wheat and corn and write '100 percent durum wheat' on its package, it starts to tarnish the good reputation of this country and may even turn into a health problem."
Evaluating the decision that came into effect on October 1, Nihat Uysallı, President of Pasta Producers and Industrialists Association, warned, “Our high value-added, high-priced pasta exports to Pacific and Far East countries such as Japan, Malaysia and China will be lost due to the ban on using 'domestic durum wheat'. This will mean the loss of all the markets we have taken from the Italians in 20 years.”
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