March 06, 2015

06/03/2015: Report from TUSAF

by Darren Parris, Milling and Grain

Mr Mehdi Eker, Government Minister, Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock, took to the podium and reiterated the importance of Wheat and Health, emphasising to all the extreme importance of this topic.


Mr Mehdi Eker - Government Minister, Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock
 

Mr Mehdi Eker - Government Minister, Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock

Raising once again the topic of not eating any white foods, Mr Eker went on to explain that we have been consuming bread as a product for over 1000 years, and surely this should have been enough time to have identified if this product should be consumed by humans. Quite the contrary, it has been a staple food of our ancestors and they have all been very healthy.

Mr Ekerwent on to say that “Anatolia - or Asia Minor as it was then known - is botanically-speaking one of the richest, if not the richest place, on earth.  It has over 4200 plants and species under protection. For thousands of years humans have farmed this land for wheat for human consumption.

“It is therefore logical to assume that in this case the wheat and various plant variants will have been cultivated and will have entered our genes, and our genes must have over thousands of years become accustomed to them.

“We must remember that Anatolia is the ‘birthplace’ of wheat and over many years this wheat has spread all over the world, and in regions like the Americas and Europe it is a basic staple food for millions. There are, of course, other basic staple foods in other regions which have a different typography or weather system, such as rice and maize; however it is well known that, of these three, wheat has by far the greatest nutritional value.

“And globally, people not only eat basic foodstuffs, they also eat food prepared by others and processed foods. Any new foods produced today are taken to the global market very quickly with advertising and good logistics; this is why we have seen an increase in refined foods being consumed.

“What is critical is that we need to use the knowledge at hand with wisdom - if not we will have ‘knowledge pollution’. And what we eat will become a burden.”

Mr Eker continued, “Campaigns against specific food stuffs are not wise. In reality, we each need different food-categories to a certain extent for a balanced diet. The important thing, of course, is the amount of each foodstuff we consume.



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Mr Zeki from Bastak talking with Mr Eker


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Behn + Bates meet with Mr Eker

“Over the years we have seen historical activities against specific food stuffs, for example: When margarine came to the market, we were warned off butter; when vegetable and sunflower oil entered the market, we were warned against olive oil; the same happened with eggs with much ‘mud-slinging’.

“We must beware of such negative campaigns; there is nothing wrong with white bread, butter and olive oil, everything in moderation is good. If you are ill, go to the doctor for a prescription - do not just stop eating a specific food type.”

Mr Eker went on to talk about the wheat and flour industry, pointing out that Turkey is now either Number 1 or 2 in the world for wheat exports; in 2002 they were significantly lower. He was keen to point out that this needs and deserves attention.

“From 2003 to 2013 Turkey saw huge growth; not only did they grow more, more was processed and significantly more exported being the surplus. In addition to this Turkey imported over 40,000,000 tonnes of grain worth over 16.5 million, it was then processed and exported.

“In 2005, Turkey was the 11th largest global exporter of wheat/flour with $353,000 tonnes worth around 48,000. In 2014 this was 2.2 million tonnes worth $993 million dollars, almost 1 billion.

“We must target 1 billion and exceed this milestone.

"We are the leader around the world, I am proud to announce this at such an international conference.

“On top of this, our pasta exports have gone up 30-fold; in 2002 we were the 7th largest and in 2013 we were the 2nd largest exporter of pasta. 2014 figures are not in yet, but I suspect we will either hold our position as 2nd or jump to Number One.”


Mr Ekin walks about the 11th TUSAF 2015 trade show  

Mr Eker walks about the 11th TUSAF 2015 trade show

Mr Eker explained a few statistics: 54 percent of all registered farmers in Turkey are producing wheat with more than 1 million people employed. He was proud to point out the Turkish Government’s involvement in certifying seeds, some of which are developed by Government agencies and some in the private sector. Mr Eker also reminded everyone that the Turkish Government is meeting 22 percent of all the wheat production costs, through such areas and soil analysis for farmers.

Mr Eker also explained that the Turkish Government are behind 464 projects where they have spent over 100 million Turkish lira of which 213 of these projects are directly related to wheat processing. 

And for the future, they are protecting seeds and genes in Ankara, where they have the worlds 3rd largest gene bank. Alongside which, they have opened a new biological centre where they can study new seeds; whereas it used to take 10 to 12 years to bring a new seed to market, they will now be able to do it in 7.


Mr Mehdi Eker then went on a longer walk around the exhibition, photos below:



TUSAF 
TUSAF meets Mr Eker



Mr Erkin meets with Parantez 
 Mr Erkin meets with the Parantez Group, organisers of next month's IDMA Exhibition


 
Mr Erker meets with Kett


Mr Vural Kural from TUSAF (centre) today at the 11th TUSAF 2015 
Mr Vural Kural (centre) and colleagues from TUSAF today at the 11th TUSAF 2015


Visit the TUSAF website HERE.
 

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