The dream of producing wheat in Venezuela – Dünya Gazetesi

In recent years, we have witnessed unprecedented close relations between Venezuela and Turkey. It was announced that many agreements were signed with the visit of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to this country in 2018, health assistance during the pandemic period and the visit of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro to Turkey last week.

Let’s do a reminder first. About two years ago, cheese imports from Venezuela came to a head. Although Venezuela is not even mentioned in the world’s cheese production, cheese imports from this country have been discussed in Turkey for months. There was no such import. There was no cheese to be imported anyway.

Today, wheat production is on Venezuela’s agenda. Turkey was going to produce wheat in this country. The Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Prof. Dr. Vahit Kirisci. According to the statements made by Minister Kirişci, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, who wants us to produce wheat.

Maduro said that 30% of the wheat to be produced in this country must be given to them and that 70% can be brought to Turkey.

Is there wheat production in this country? How much is production? There is no good information on these issues.

Wheat production in Venezuela was on the country’s agenda. On the one hand, it is said that “we don’t have a problem with wheat, we produce wheat that is enough for us”, on the other hand, the endless searches for the production or importation of wheat in other countries continue.

No suitable climate for wheat production

When there was so much discussion about wheat production in Venezuela, I read for the first time the presentation of the Venezuelan country, reports, product matrices and consulting reports from the Ministry of Commerce of the Republic of Turkey, line by line. None of these reports contain any information or guidance on wheat production in Venezuela.

Not content with that, I talked to representatives of private sector companies that trade with this country and export food products and flour. According to the information I received, the country’s climate and soil are not suitable for wheat production. In the past, some studies were carried out for wheat production. However, as the country’s geography and climate are not suitable for wheat production, this production could not be carried out with the desired efficiency.

Venezuela is not a country known for producing wheat in the world. Import wheat. This is not enough, it imports a significant amount of flour. With data from 2021, wheat imports from this country are 193 million dollars. 51% of this came from the United States and 49% from Canada.

She buys 58% of her flour needs from Turkey.

In addition to importing wheat, Venezuela also imports flour. According to 2021 data from the Ministry of Commerce, 58% of the US$81 million flour import was made from Turkey, 29% from Brazil and 7.4% from Colombia.

As a result of the trials and studies, the desired yield in wheat production could not be achieved in Venezuela, let’s say the necessary conditions were met and the wheat was produced. The cost of bringing the wheat produced here to Turkey will also be very high.

In Venezuela, where we supply 58% of the need for flour, we are going to produce wheat and bring it to Turkey, and we will make flour and sell it back to this country. This is economically and ecologically impossible. It is not ecologically possible because the country’s climate is not suitable. It is not economically possible because the cost of transporting the product from there to Turkey and exporting it again is enormous.

Potential for import and export of agricultural and food products

According to Ministry of Commerce country reports and presentations, Turkey mainly supplies food (flour, pasta, pulses, oil, chocolate biscuits, etc.), cosmetics (soap, toothpaste, shampoo, cleaning products, etc.), fertilizers for Venezuela. , automotive (tire, battery, mineral oil, etc.), textile, medicine, etc. exports products.

Among the products we import from this country; There are products such as scrap, aluminum, methyl alcohol.

Ministry data highlight the potential of the agri-food sector in Venezuela for chicken, powdered milk, pulses, nuts and dried fruits, flour, cooking oil, olives, pasta, chocolate biscuits, canned goods and similar products. It is also seen as a potential market for agricultural machinery.

Among the potential products that can be imported from Venezuela are seafood, sardines, tuna, shrimp and agricultural and food products such as coffee, cocoa, sesame and tropical fruits. No wheat.

Looking for production in Venezuela after Sudan and Niger

Turkey, first in Sudan and then in another African country, Niger, worked on agricultural production. It was planned to carry out agricultural production on an area of ​​1 million hectares in Niger and to bring especially forage crops to Turkey.

In line with the meeting that Vice President Fuat Oktay had with the President of Niger, Mahamadou Issoufou, in 2018, an agreement was reached for agricultural production in this country on 1 million hectares of land. After this meeting, a special team was formed within the Vice Presidency and work began in Niger.

In order to close the food deficit in livestock and stop the price increases, feed crops would be produced on 1 million hectares of land in Niger and brought to Turkey. However, this project could not be implemented because it was not cost-effective.

Turkey previously leased 780,500 hectares of agricultural land in Sudan for 99 years. It was planned that both the State and the private sector would carry out agricultural production on this land. Based on the “Agreement on Bilateral Agricultural Cooperation and Partnership between the Government of the Republic of Turkey and the Government of the Republic of Sudan” approved by the decision of the Council of Ministers of 9.11.2015 and number 2015/8234, “Turkish Sudan International Agriculture Corporation and Livestock” was created. 80 percent of the company’s capital belongs to the General Directorate of Agricultural Enterprises of the Ministry of Agriculture and 20 percent belongs to Sudan. To date, no significant production has been done there either.

Can agricultural production, which has not yet been achieved in two African countries Sudan and Niger, be carried out in Venezuela, a South American country?

If Turkey were to show the effort it has made for agricultural production abroad, the energy it has spent on the country’s land could transform the country’s agricultural potential into wealth, achieving much greater production. However, while imports are supported rather than production in the country, the country’s agenda is unnecessarily occupied with the dream of producing in other countries.

We run a deficit in foreign trade

According to data from the Ministry of Commerce, Venezuela ranks 119th in the world with exports of 3 billion dollars (down 32%) in 2021, and 117th in the world with imports of 7 billion dollars (increase of 5%). .

Looking at trade with Turkey, Turkey’s exports to this country in 2021 are 300 million USD. There is a 27 percent increase over the previous year. Turkey’s share of the country’s total exports in 2021 ranks 88th with 1 per thousand. In the same period, imports from this country amounted to 551 million dollars. Turkey’s imports from Venezuela increased by 792% in 2021 compared to 2020. Turkey has a foreign trade deficit of USD 252 million in trade with Venezuela.

Venezuelan economy and agriculture

The country’s economy is largely based on its rich oil reserves. It has mines such as natural gas, iron and gold. 52% of the country’s land consists of forested areas.

The country’s gross domestic product is expected to reach US$46.5 billion in 2021 and US$49.9 billion in 2022. Per capita income is US$1686.

With a population of around 28 million, Venezuela is the 13th largest economy in South America. The country’s economy has been shrinking since 2014. Gross Domestic Product has fallen below $50 billion from $300 billion. Per capita income dropped by a quarter.

In terms of agriculture, forestry and fisheries; 7 percent of the total workforce works in the agricultural sector. It has an area of ​​about 30 million hectares suitable for agriculture. The area open to the production of forest products is 16 million hectares. 600,000 square kilometers of the country’s maritime area are suitable for fishing. Its main products are: tropical fruits, coffee, cocoa, corn, rice, sorghum, sesame, sugar cane and vegetables, in addition to meat, milk, eggs, fish.

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