Cereals, Pulses, and Oil Seeds
Anatolia, as the major source of all precious raw ingredients and tastes coming from the 7 culturally unique regions across its fertile land. Türkiye is considered one of the leading countries in the world in agriculture and related industries with rising exports in many kinds of agricultural products, placing the country among the world’s largest producers.
Agriculture in Türkiye is practiced using modern techniques and cutting-edge technology. We are constantly seeking to ensure sustainable production, viability, competitiveness and economic development in rural areas. Therefore, Türkiye pays attention to the continuous efforts to enhance research and development, and to transfer know-how to the sector. Türkiye has a profound understanding of the significance of sustainable agriculture and food systems and environmental sustainability, which requires taking measures against ecosystem degradation. An integral part of this is to protect the diverse genetic resources globally and locally. Türkiye is blessed with rich biodiversity providing substantial benefits in agriculture and food systems.
As for the cereals, pulses and oilseeds sector, main export products are grain mill products (wheat flour, starch, semolina), confectionery products, pasta, vegetable oils (sunflower oil, margarine), oil seeds (sunflower seed, cotton seed), cereals, pulses (chickpeas, beans, lentils) and yeast.
The most-planted cereal species for Türkiye is wheat. Besides its significant economic importance, wheat has social and cultural as well as historical value. The history of wheat in Türkiye dates back to at least 10 000 years ago, when it first entered the life of human beings. Wheat has been a driving force for formation and development of cultures: it represents fertility, it is sacred, and it is something that should not be dropped on the ground and wasted. Today, in Türkiye three out of every four farmers grow wheat. Wheat produced with local varieties have different tastes and several production methods are used in the many Anatolian cultures. Among bread types, the somun is contemporarily the most common but ‘bazlama, tandoori, saç, fetir, and top’ are also popular in different regions. Potato, chickpea, and other ingredients can also be added to breads depending on the customs of specific regions. Anatolian wheat culture is not limited to bread alone, but also includes ‘yufka, kadayıf, bulgur, erişte, kuskus, makarna, and keşkek’ as popular products.
Boiled and pounded hard (durum) wheat, called bulgur in Turkish, is another common name for this traditional meal. Bulgur plays an important role in Turkish cuisine. It has a high nutritional value and it is also considered an ideal grain for a vegetarian diet. A popular soup, the traditional Anatolian winter soup tarhana or sourdough soup, although varying from one region to another in Türkiye, usually consists of a combination of cracked wheat (or flour), yogurt, and vegetables. The bulgur or flour is kneaded, proofed, and fermented, and then it is dried and ground into a “meal”. Portions of the meal are rehydrated by adding water or milk, vegetables, and spices and boiled for serving as a soup. Türkiye is known as one of the centers of origin and genetic diversity for wild wheat, and species related to wheat.
Barley is the second most important cereal of Türkiye, mainly grown for animal feed. Around 160 000 tons of the production is used in the malting industry. There are nine species and four subspecies of barley in Türkiye.
Pulses are the edible seeds of plants in the legume family. Dried peas, chickpeas, dried beans, lentil, and cowpeas are all types of pulses, with lentils and chickpeas being the most popular in Türkiye. Pulses, especially lentils, are commonly used in Turkish traditional dishes.
Chickpea and lentil is the largest part of the total Turkish pulses production. Chickpeas can be planted in almost all of Anatolia. Türkiye has produced legumes for centuries that support health with its rich nutritional value and consumed as part of a balanced diet, supplying the right amount of energy.
Türkiye continues to strengthen its position in the world pasta market. The pasta sector, which has renewed itself to a great extent in the last 10 years, uses the latest technology in production. The Turkish pasta sector is leading the competition with other countries in terms of quality and price. Located on the Mesopotamia region, the main production center of durum wheat and Türkiye is increasing its weight in the pasta industry every day.
Türkiye is quite a good position in flour, pasta and bulgur sectors in the world. It is the world leader in flour and bulgur production and export; third in the world in pasta production. It ranks second after Italy in pasta exports. The only hurdle in Türkiye’s aim to be the first largest pasta exporter in the world is the quota imposed by the European Union. While being one of the biggest countries in pasta production and export.
In the world and in Türkiye the oilseeds, vegetable oils, and products sector have gained great momentum in the last twenty-five years. Sunflower oil, one of the most important plant oils in the world, comes from a plant of which the largest plantation area and production can be found in Türkiye. The sunflower is one of the most important oil plants in our country and the world and is mostly grown for oil in our country.
The main oil seeds produced in our country are sunflower seed, cotton seed and poppy seed. Seeds are sifted and traded with 99.9 %purity from Türkiye. Poppy seeds, which is an essential product of Türkiye, are rich in oil, carbohydrates, calcium and protein.
Türkiye has the advantage of being self-sufficient in sugar which is one of the main confectionery ingredients. Türkiye is also in a very advantageous situation thanks to its dominance in the world production of dried fruits (dried apricots, raisins, dried figs) and edible nuts (hazelnuts, pistachios). The hazelnut, in particular, is now one of the basic ingredients widely used in the confectionery sector. Hazelnut flour, roasted and sliced hazelnuts are used in the production of sweets, cakes and biscuits. Hazelnut paste is used in the production of chocolate. The special products supplied for direct consumption are hazelnut puree, halva and hazelnut cream.
Turkish pistachios are also used in the production of Turkish delight, halva and chocolate, and Turkish sultanas (raisins), as well as used in the production of cakes, biscuits, and confectionery products. Türkiye is not only in an advantageous situation with respect to the ingredients used in the confectionery sector but also provides good opportunity for its confectionery producers and exporters, with its increasing potential in the overall size of the market, an increasing young population, proximity to import markets, and a strong potential for growth in tourism.
Changing lifestyles and increasing health consciousness among consumers are notable trends affecting the sector. Consumers are demanding more innovative products. Therefore, new products are introduced regularly to the Turkish confectionery market.
Quality is one issue that Turkish exporters give absolute priority to. As a result of integration with the European Union (EU), Turkish food laws have been harmonized with the relevant EU Directives already, ensuring that all consumers have access to safe products. In addition, Türkiye is actively taking part in the Food and Agriculture Organization / World Health Organization Codex Alimentarius Commission in the establishment of international standards. Many firms have Global Food Safety Certificates and quality systems and are trying to satisfy further demands of their customers.