BLOG

The milling industry invests in renewable energy

16 February 20248 min reading

The 18th International Congress and Exhibition of the Turkish Flour Industrialists' Federation (TFIF), themed "Global Agricultural Policies, Food, and Energy," is underway with strong sector participation. In his opening address, Haluk Tezcan, President of TFIF, stated that the milling sector is investing in the future through its investments.

TFIF President Haluk Tezcan remarked, "It brings us joy for the future of our sector to see that investments in renewable energy sources, particularly by industrialists, are on the rise with the twin transformation, increasing awareness for the sustainability of agriculture and food every passing day."

The TFIF Congress, sponsored by IDMA and lasting for two days in Antalya, coincided with the Federation's 20th anniversary celebration, drawing significant participation from the sector. 

Haluk Tezcan, President of the Turkish Flour Industrialists Federation (TFIF), highlighted the following points in his opening speech at the congress:

Looking back at the year 2023, amidst global financial fluctuations, climate change, natural disasters, wars, challenges in energy resources, and logistical issues, it is fair to say that the year served as a wake-up call for the world.

As we are aware, on February 6, 2023, the world witnessed an unprecedented disaster. Despite a year passing since the calamity of the century, our wounds remain fresh.

THE FIGHT AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE WILL SUCCEED ONLY GLOBALLY

In addition to all these challenges, we continued our battle against climate change and extreme heat. According to international sources, the highest temperatures since the 1800s were recorded in 2023. At this point, we find ourselves in uncharted territory right in the heart of climate change.

Unfortunately, we are well aware of what is causing this. For over a century, we have known that increasing carbon emissions leads to a rise in atmospheric temperatures. Our ability to mitigate heatwaves and all other associated impacts hinges entirely on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and achieving net-zero emissions. And this can only be accomplished through a global solution.


Here, witnessing the growing investments of the entire milling sector, including us industrialists, in renewable energy sources through the twin transformation, brings us joy for the future of our industry and enhances awareness for the sustainability of agriculture and food with each passing day. At this juncture, I believe that transitioning from research and development (R&D) to production and development (P&D) needs to be expedited. This transition will be achieved through collaboration between the public and private sectors.

Furthermore, amidst the significant annual increase in the global population, the culture of unconscious consumption has led to alarming levels of food waste and loss. The fact that 1.3 billion tons of food are wasted worldwide underscores the urgent need for corrective action.

GRAIN PRODUCTION HITS ALL-TIME RECORD

According to international forecasts, cereal production in 2023 will increase by 1.2 percent compared to 2022, reaching an all-time high of 836 million tons, but the widening gap in the ratio of production to consumption is a cause for concern.

Agricultural policies are changing both in the world and in Turkey. Countries are now making water-centered production plans. While we talk about food supply security, water security will now be one of our most important challenges.

Unfortunately, the effects of this change not only affect the amount of agricultural production, but also the water crisis that awaits us, as well as the problems that will be experienced in logistics with the water withdrawals, in other words, it shows that it can affect the food supply chain. Agriculture, which consumes three quarters of the available water resources in our country, will be one of the sectors that will be most affected by this process. 

When we consider that a significant water crisis awaits us in as little as 10 years, it is imperative, especially for food producers who hold the highest share in the industry, to analyze this period thoroughly and promptly modify our production models.

The impending dangers will not only impact a single sector of production but will also directly affect 8 billion people and the entire food supply chain.

LAST 7 YEARS' RECORD WHEAT PRODUCTION

Despite all the negative developments and risks, 2023 was a year of breaking records for our country. Alongside the increase in cultivated areas, we closed the year with the highest wheat production figure of the last 7 years, reaching 21,5 million tons.

In these times where food supply security stands as one of the world's biggest threats, Turkey, besides maintaining robust stocks, exported durum wheat through the Turkish Grain Board after a long hiatus. Thus, we have signaled to the world that we will not have concerns about stocks in the future.

Turkey proudly maintains its status as the world's flour hub. By emphasizing the reliability of Turkish flour, we also play a crucial role in providing safe food access to low-income groups.

In this regard, if we can elevate our yield and quality to global standards alongside our increasing production, we can rightfully claim the export championship with our own wheat.

Until June 2023, as flour industrialists, we continued to combat the financial fluctuations alongside our industry stakeholders, striving relentlessly to secure our position both domestically and globally without burdening our citizens. In this regard, we are continuing our efforts in collaboration with our newly formed government.

Our relentless efforts as a sector to ensure that our citizens have access to flour and bread, essential components of our diet, at reasonable prices have yielded positive results. Markets have found their equilibrium by establishing their own prices, and today, global food prices continue to decline, as evidenced by the FAO Grain Price Index.

GOVERNMENT SUPPORT BEARS FRUIT

These circumstances have once again underscored the necessity of increasing our agricultural production at any cost.

Particularly in recent years, the substantial support provided by our government to agricultural production has begun to yield results. Our production area, which had been declining over the past decade, dwindling to 6,4 million hectares, rebounded to 7,3 million hectares in 2023.

Consequently, by attaining the highest production levels in recent years, we have realized the sustainability goal we have long pursued alongside our producers.

Innovation is now imperative in agriculture and food production. In this regard, I am confident that our new contract farming model will chart a new course in agricultural production, both domestically and globally. I believe that the growing presence of licensed warehouses, the feed sector, and emerging intermediary institutions in agricultural finance will complement this initiative.

Furthermore, enhancing collaboration between industrialists and producers will elevate our standing on the international stage.

While boosting productivity and quality through these innovative approaches in our production models, integrating young people into the production chain is also crucial for addressing employment challenges, a paramount issue in agriculture. Attracting youth to a traditional sector like agriculture demands a bold new vision. 

WE HAVE BEEN THE EXPORT LEADER FOR 10 YEARS

With the support of our government and relevant institutions, we, as flour industrialists, have held the position of export leader worldwide for the past 10 years. In 2023, we achieved a new milestone by exporting over 3.6 million tons to 160 countries and 6 free zones, reaching the highest export volume of all time. This success is a testament to the collective efforts of our exporting companies, the seamless product supply provided by our industrialists in the domestic market, and the collaboration of our sector stakeholders who form the foundation of this industry alongside us. 

As one of the key players in the food industry, we must recognize the serious responsibilities that fall upon us. The world is undergoing successive changes in agricultural policies, and we are part of this transformation. Hunger and drought, once unavoidable risks, are now our foremost challenges.

Regrettably, global conflicts and tensions hinder our focus on combating food insecurity and food waste, which are right at our doorstep.

Another imminent danger we face is in logistics, the backbone of trade.

Developments in the Red Sea, one of the crucial arteries of global trade, not only escalate geopolitical risks and security threats but also deal a severe blow to the global supply chain and international trade.

The Red Sea, facilitating the transit of approximately 42 million tons of wheat, accounts for one-fifth of the global wheat trade alone. As a nation, it is imperative for us to exert every effort to keep the Red Sea accessible to avert market disruptions.

Meanwhile, the crisis of disruptions in the Panama Canal is exacerbating. Despite attempts to explore alternative routes due to the slowdown in ship traffic caused by drought, these developments pose the most serious threat to global maritime transportation in recent years.

While discussions revolve around different alternative routes and modes of transportation, it's evident that the existing alternatives will escalate costs and prolong processes.

Furthermore, the disruptions in Turkish ports due to the sanctions imposed internationally amid the Russia-Ukraine War lead to trade interruptions.

Considering that the food industry, which cannot afford to be affected even during global contractions, is now facing challenges in accessing financing, it's fair to say that a precarious period lies ahead.

There's no doubt that the relevant institutions of our state will monitor the situation and take necessary actions to address it, raising awareness that the food industry doesn't just impact one sector but affects 8 billion people.

THANK YOU TO OUR MAIN SPONSOR, İDMA

As it is well known, these wonderful events cannot take place without the support of our esteemed sponsors. Therefore, I consider it a debt of gratitude to express my thanks to you, our esteemed guests, for honoring us with your presence at Turkey's largest food congress, supported by our main sponsor, IDMA, along with over 60 other sponsors and more than 1300 participants.

Articles in News Category
03 April 20191 min reading

Ülker sells Godiva’s rights in 4 countries and the Belgian factory

Yıldız Holding sold Godiva’s Belgian factory, retail and distribution operations in Japan, South Ko...

25 September 20202 min reading

First harvest of Ülker’s biscuit wheat “Aliağa”

The project launched by Ülker to ensure high-quality and sustainable production, to secure wheat s...