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Turkey has enormous economic potential in a wide variety of agricultural products. In last decade, Turkey adopted a strategy to manage this potential based on a market oriented approach to agriculture and rural development contrary to the interventionist policies that were used during 1960's and 1970's.

Although agriculture has become a less significant sector in the Turkish economy over a period of several decades, it still accounts for a relatively larger share of total output (15.6 percent in 1994) and employment (42 percent) than in many other countries. However, this share has tended to fall over time.

Agriculture has economic importance in Turkey. Nearly half of its population still live in rural areas. Although migration abroad has slowed considerably, internal migration (mainly from rural areas to industrial towns) continues at a rapid pace, driven largely by income differentiations. The experience of many developed countries has shown that rural-urban migration is largely an inevitable consequence of industrialization. Turkey's agricultural workforce appears to be a varied one, with the sector exhibiting a diverse range of farm types. Turkish farms are usually operated by a family and sometimes employ hired workers. Owner-operators of fully commercial farms (mainly in western Turkey) exhibit human capital mixes that are similar to those of their counterparts elsewhere in the develop world: high levels of sector specific know-how and of general management skills.

Agricultural output has expanded rapidly over a period of several decades. Much of this growth has been achieved through yield increases. Yields in some crops are currently above levels achieved in some farming intensive countries. This reflects Turkey's relatively abundant land endowment as well as the farming techniques and agro-climatic conditions prevailing in Turkey's regions.

Turkey's 78,1 million hectares of mostly rugged land area is exposed to both maritime and continental weather patterns. This, combined with a varied topography, produces several distinct climatic zones allowing a wide range of crops to be produced.

Vegetal production is mainly made up of cereals, pulses, industrial plants, perishables and fodder crops. Turkey has a major role among the important pulse-producing countries and has the means of dominating the world trade in pulses. The number of countries importing Turkish pulses in the last five years is over 40.

Cereals are of great importance in Turkish agriculture. Wheat, barley, oats, rye, spelt, maize, millet and rice are the main species of cereals produced in Turkey.

Turkey is the main producer of oriental type tobacco in the world. Among the main industrial crops produced in Turkey, cotton and tobacco are traditional agricultural export items of the country. In vegetal production, perishables constitute the backbone of the sector. The country produces 80 types of fresh fruits and vegetables out of 140 products grown in the world. Out of the 80 types of fresh produce, 50 kinds are subject to export.

Regional Agricultural Output Patterns Of Turkey

Principal Products
Cereals, rice, vegetables, pulses, fruits
Olives, grapes, cotton, tobacco, pulses, vegetables, tubers
Sunflower, rice, roots, sugarbeets
Cotton, cereals, citrus, rice, vegetables, pulses
Fodder, wheat, tubers, pulses, livestock
Black Sea
Fodder, cereals, tubers, vegetables, pulses, grapes, livestock, pistachio, fruits
Hazelnuts, tea, rice, tobacco
Fodder, cereals, fruits, tobacco, sugarbeets
Cereals, sugarbeets,grapes, pulses, vegetables, tubers, livestock

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