Agriculture in Turkey

Many consider Turkey to be a world leader in agriculture and related industries due to its favorable geographical conditions and climate. The fact that Turkey now numbers among the largest producers in the world is attested by rising exports in the diverse range of agricultural products yielded by the country’s fertile soils.

Starting in the early 1980s efforts were begun to restructure and reform the agricultural sector, including privatization and the reduction of trade barriers, integrating Turkey’s domestic market into the world economy. The result of this was an increase of over USD 3 billion in agricultural exports—from USD 1.7 in 2002 to USD 5 billion in 2010—, excluding processed food.

As of 2010, the agricultural sector recruited about 25 percent of the total workforce of the country and accounted for 8.4 percent of Turkey’s GDP.

Arable land in Turkey is plentiful, measuring about 40 percent of Turkey’s total geography, and offers a large range of products such as grains, pulses, oil seeds, fruits and vegetables, cut flowers, poultry, milk and dairy products, fishery, honey and tobacco. Crop production is the largest sector at 67 percent, while livestock accounts for 26 percent, and fishery/forestry account for 7 percent.

Turkey dominates the international market in the production and exportation of hazelnuts, dried apricots, sultanas and dried figs. Regionally, Turkey’s food production industry is superior to that of its neighboring countries. In fact, the country is one of the largest exporters of agricultural products in the Eastern Europe, Middle East and North Africa (EMEA) region, while its trade balance is significantly positive.

Today’s Turkey is a nation of 74 million people and rising incomes. Its population continues to grow, helping maintain a large and sustainable domestic market, which is further bolstered by the changing consumer habits of the younger generation.