In Turkey, the first modern private dairy processing plant was established in 1975. Over the past two decades, the number of modern processing plants rapidly increased and their products began to compete in national markets. While the animal stock was constantly declining until 2000, the figures have increased in recent years with government incentives, reaching around 14 million cattle, 32 million sheep, 10 million goats, 134 thousand buffaloes in 2015. In 2015, yield per cow became 2,100 kg/head/year across the world, and 3,059 kg/head/year in Turkey.While Turkey’s milk production was 1,856,326 metric tonnes in 1930, it increased by 0.1% to 18.7 million metric tonnes in 2015.

With this volume of production, Turkey ranks ninth among the top milk producers. In 2015, 90.8% of Turkey’s milk production was composed of cow milk, 6.3% of sheep milk, 2.6% of goat milk and 0.3% of buffalo milk.

Raw milk has been accumulating the highest production value in agricultural products in Turkey for the last decade. In 2013, raw milk production in Turkey had a value of TL 18.3 billion within the total agricultural production value of TL 190 billion. Tomato has the second highest production value following the raw milk. The milk and dairy products sector, comprising 16% of production value in the food industry, is an extremely important sub-sector in terms of adding value to Turkey’s economy and achieving rural development. Therefore, dairy forms the basis of rural development in Turkey.

According to records of the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock, out of the 2,252 milk processing facilities in operation as of December 17, 2011, 1,727 became approved by January 1, 2015, and the number of approved facilities climbed to 2,015 by December 1, 2016. Prior to December 17, 2011, there were 5,943 the milk collection centers, 5,651 of which obtained approval by December 17, 2016. So, as of December 2016, approximately 94% of milk processing facilities and milk collection centers have modernized their establishments and obtained approval from the Ministry.

In Turkey, 8,934 thousand metric tonnes of the total 18.7 million metric tonnes of raw milk produced in 2015 went to the industry. Half of this raw milk is processed into cheese, 20% into yoghurt and ayran, 13% into processed milk, 10% into powdered milk, 4% into butter and 3% into ice cream production. This raw milk is used to produce 1,379 thousand metric tonnes of processed milk, 666 thousand metric tonnes of cheese, 1,223 metric tonnes of yogurt, 627 thousand metric tonnes of ayran, 58 thousand metric tonnes of butter, 112 thousand metric tonnes of dried milk and 340 thousand metric tonnes of ice cream.

Although the average annual per capita milk consumption in Turkey is estimated to be at 237 kg milk equivalent, household food consumption surveys put average annual per capital at around 65 kg instead, compared to 110 kg in the world, 75 kg in Asia, 270 kg in Europe, 288 kg in the EU, 254 kg in North America, 165 kg in South America, 101 kg in Central America, 49 kg in Africa, and 217 kg in Oceania.

Turkey has been exporting milk and dairy products to 54 countries and the total amount of exports reached $271 million in 2015. Iraq, Azerbaijan, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, TRNC, Kazakhstan and USA constitute Turkey’s major export markets. 

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