Of Turkey’s total population of 72.5 million inhabitants, 35% work in agriculture. The country has 7 geographical zones with different climates and natural conditions. Until recently Turkey was self-sustaining in food. This is not the case anymore, since the foreign trade balances turned in favor of imports. Nowadays Turkey imports a lot of food.
Turkey’s GDP in 2005 was US$ 361.5 billion, with an annual growth rate of 7.4%. However agriculture and agricultural population have fallen back from the general growth of wealth and capacity. The reason is the lack of a strong national policy, strategy, and physical infrastructure and lack of education in rural areas. Another factor is that many families have farms that are too small, a result of the high population growth in the past and the rules of property inheritance. The Turkish population with many different cultures and ethnic backgrounds offer both advantages and disadvantages.
In 2005 organic agriculture occupied around 1% of the 26 million ha agricultural land. The first organic export products of Turkey were dried figs, dried sultanas (seedless raisins), dried apricots, hazelnuts, cotton, and rose oil. In recent years olive oil, grains, chick peas, lentils, honey, anise, fennel, coriander seeds, pistachios, pine nuts, various fruits and vegetables, and milk and other animal products were added to the list. The variety of major organic crops is the same as for the major conventional crops. Value-added products like tomato paste, fruit juices, bread, olives, pasta, and jams have also been produced for both the domestic and export markets.(Author: Victor Ananias)
(Adapted From IFOAM, Building Sustainable Organic Sectors)
Further reading on Early Organic Development In Turkey:
Case Study Overview
Early Organic Agricultural Development
Organic Market Development
Regulatory Framework and Policy
Supporting Structures and Lessons Learned
IFOAM is constantly updating the information on this website. Comments or suggestions contact the Platform Coordinator
Back to the Growing Organic main page