Mr. Hakan Bahceci's presentation of MIDDLE EAST MARKET FOR PULSES on Pulses days in 2003.
You can find the full link at the document http://www.saskpulse.com/media/pdfs/pdays-2003-proceedings.pdf

Hakan Bahceci
Hakan Agro Commodities Trading Company
PO Box 31489
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Hakan Bahceci is the Group Managing Director with the Hakan Agro Commodities
Trading Company. He is a first-generation businessman whose company has grown
from a brokerage outfit in 1989 to a leading trading company in the Middle East region
with operations in nine countries. Hakan Agro Commodites trades in pulses, oilseeds,
frozen poultry, and animal feed.

The area of interest for my presentation consists of 15 countries with over 305 million.
1. Middle East with 4% of the world population imports 15% of world foodstuffs and
about 25% of world’s pulses and cereals.
2. Combined with North Africa, Middle East is the largest regional importer of pulses
3. Combined with North Africa, these countries occupy 1.2 billion hectares or 9% of the
world’s land. Only about 89 million hectares or 7% of is considered arable. Most of
the countries are arid and agriculture production is highly dependent upon rainfall.
4. Most pulse crops including lentils, chickpeas and dry beans were first domesticated
in Middle East over 7000 years ago. Production of pulse crops in Middle East has
fallen 24% over the past ten years from 4 million metric tons in 1991 to 3 million
metric tons in 2001 because of decreased yield due to drought and substitution of
the crops especially in Turkey. By crop there was a 32% decrease in chickpeas
production, a 26% decrease in lentils production.
5. As a result of increase of population and decrease of production, imports of total
pulse crops increased 113% from 1990 and 2000 to reach over 1 million tons. This
increase in imports was led by Turkey whose imports increased from 14,000mt in
1990 to 175,000mt in 2000. Imports also increased by more than 100% or Egypt,
Morocco, Algeria, UAE, Yemen.
Between 1990 and 2000, imports of lentils increased 121% to about 400,000mt. In
2000, Egypt and Turkey were the largest importing nations, while Canada and
Turkey were the largest exporting nations. Turkeys domestic production decreased,
domestic consumption increased , their imports increased to meet their re-export
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Middle East Market for Pulses – Hakan Bahceci page 51
6. Middle East is higly import dependant due to limited renewable agricultural
7. So we can summarize that Middle East produces about 1.2million tons of pulses and
exports (intra region) about 495,000mt and imports about 1.1.million tons
· Greater stress on vegetable proteins
· With 4% population growing annually at 2% and less than 1% fresh water, Middle
East and North Africa need to improve protein supply from a modest 150% to 700%
in next 25 years
· Pulses are used in traditional dishes like Hommus, Falafel, Ful, Kocheri and soups
and are cooked in many dishes together with meat and poultry.
· Irrespective of economies of scale, the splitting facilities culture at import
destinations continue to grow. Like in Egypt , there are now total 6 splitting plants
with a total daily capacity of 1500mt per day. So Egypt is playing to become a
regional supplier / exporter into the area. Yemen is coming up with a splitting plant.
In there are now 2 plants. . This is actually good news for Canada and
Australia , the two main raw lentils suppliers however may not be very encouraging
for the splitters over here.
· Canning sector continues to grow, right now canned pulses is about 15% of the
pulses trade in Middle East.
· Canada, USA and Australia replaced effectively as major exporters of lentils and
chickpeas. However this season has not been great for both countries due to bad
weather conditions hence decreased yields and bad qualities. Where as Turkey,
, had excellent weather and results in yields and quality.
· This year, the main surprise was from . The exports of chickpeas increased
from 45,000mt in 2001 to 146,000 mt , an increase of 324%. was the gateway
for pulses supplied from the region as well. ’s main advantage for most
importers in India and Pakistan is the possibility to supply quick deliveries; say in 4
days to India and 2 days to Pakistan. Therefore the importers do not need to block
their lines for a long time, they are not exposed to market fluctuations due to short
transit time and they don’t have to invest big monies to do bulk vessels. will
continue to remain an important player on the pulse supplies to the area.
· Turkey is developing new varieties of chickpeas in order to improve its quality.
Turkey does not want to lose the chickpeas (kabuli types) to its competitors.
· government will continue to support agricultural development especially in the
field of chickpeas production. Their attempts to develop red lentils production did
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not bring good results in terms of quality. However they will put more emphasis on
production of chickpeas and white and colored beans.
· Iraq will continue to remain the largest importer of pulses under UN Oil for Food
program. However they did not purchase any pulses so far in the last year due to
excessive stocks caused from delayed deliveries under earlier phases.
· Egypt will appear as an exporting country and will be competing basically with
Turkey on the split lentils market. , Eritrea and Somalia have been growing
markets for red lentils. Egypt has an ideal location and excellent freight
combinations to deliver split lentils into these countries. We should not be surprised
to see Egypt starting to sell split lentils into regular markets like Saudi Arabia,
Jordan and Lebanon. As we all might know, Egypt was the second largest supplier
of split lentils into Iraq just after Turkey.
· Turkey may not grow big areas of red lentils during the next harvest because the
farmers have been very unhappy with the low prices despite increased cost of
production. The same scenery for India as well. There is about 40,000mt carryover
in and about 60,000mt in Turkey from 2002 crop.
· On the supply side, Canada, Australia and Turkey will fight it out. However in view
of Ramadan month nearing 10 days every year, it will give tremendous advantage
to Turkey at least for next 5-10 years in view of their harvest time.
· Canada and Australia will be competing between themselves on supplies of raw
lentils into Egypt in bulk, when Turkey will have no possibility to supply in bulk due
to their export standardization.
During my presentation in CICILS/IPTIC conference in Vancouver in June 2001, I talked
about some problems concerning mixing of different varieties of lentils with each other.
These problems seem to become only worse. The understanding of importers on green
lentils is that there are 3 varieties of green lentils namely lairds which is the big size ,
Richleas middle size and Estons as small size. However, many new varieties that are
developed sit in between above grades and mostly get mixed either at farm level or
processor level and this cause a great concern on the reliability of Canadian products. I
think the only way to get out of this problem is to size the lentils and sell as sized lentils
instead of with varieties.
The other problem that I talked about is the interpretation of Canadian grades, which
keep changing according to the conditions of the crop each year. I think it is very
important that the Canadians speak the same language with the importers on that end.
Right now, you talk your own language and this is not understandable to humble
consumers like myself. I think it is very important to understand that end users would like
to receive the uniform color, the uniform variety, the uniform size, the uniform specs
every year and this should not change according to the general condition of the crop.
Therefore I think it is important that Pulse Canada will put in more efforts to harmonize
the standards between Canada and the importing countries. Australia has done this on
their faba beans exports to Egypt, they worked hard for many years and finally could
adopt a uniform standardization at both ends.
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We all should remember that the success for Canadian green lentils to take over the
consuming markets from Turkey so many years ago was basically due to the ignorance
of Turkish producers and exporters over the insect bitten kernels and the success of
Canadian industry working together and developing insect damage free goods. Now
you do not want to do the same mistake that Turks did which may certainly encourage
the consumers to come up with alternative arrangements.
I feel Canada has been very successful with introduction and expansion of their products
into the world markets thanks to the professional and hard work of their export promotion
assoc. such as Pulse Canada and the trade offices of the Canadian governments in
every country, however I feel the expansion is now completed and the efforts should be
put in developing new pulse consuming markets and these big markets are USA and
Canada. In one hand you produce or target to produce the worlds need of pulses and
on the other hand continue to remain as a meat consuming market. I feel there is a great
potential to convince the consumers in north America to switch their eating habits from
meat protein to pulse proteins with a serious advertisement campaign. I remember when
there was over production of lentils many years ago in Turkey, the industry together with
the help of Turkish government made a very aggressive campaign over t.v., brochures,
introducing new recipes and talking about the healthy diets had ended with a great
success of not only liquidating the stocks but also since that campaign, Turkish domestic
consumption of pulses has only been going up. With potential consumers like the
immigrants from middle east and Asia, we are already there; all we need to do is to push
a little more !