Published On: Sat, Aug 26th, 2017

A brief look at the Turkish agriculture and food sector by end 2016

One of the most important sectors in the Turkish economy is certainly the agriculture and food industries that employ almost 20 percent of the country’s working population and represent 6.1 percent of the country’s GDP in 2016. The sector enjoyed a financial contribution of US$ 52,3 billion to the overall GDP in 2016, corresponding to 40 percent as compared to 2002.

In fact, Turkey owes its leading role in the world agriculture to its geographical location hosting Tigris and Euphrates Rivers which make the land very fertile together with favorable geographical conditions, climate and vast areas of land suitable for farming. It goes without saying agriculture has always been regarded as a traditional/national sector for the country starting with the establishment of the young republic in 1923 (and even before that). The points contributing to this approach in a most positive manner has been the size of the market as compared to the country’s young population and a dynamic private sector economy not to forget the major tourism income and the suitable climate.

When we look further back in the past we see that agriculture meant even more for Turkey – as compared to now – and the composition of various sectors changed in time in terms of their percentage of contribution to overall GDP. This was only the normal course however as the country was targeting to take important steps in other industries to include heavy ones, obviously.

Still this country ranks seventh among largest agricultural producers in the world. Moreover, regarding some products such as dried figs, nuts, raisins and dried apricots it is known to be number one supplier in the world. Moreover, another major food product to be named at this point is honey of which Turkey is among major producers on the globe. To name a few other important food items we see that milk production in this country has surpassed 18 million tons in 2016, and other items such as cereal crops (35 + million tons), vegetables (30 + million tons), fruit (19 million tons), poultry (2 million tons), not to forget red meat with 1.2 million tons

The country is certainly one of the largest exporters of agricultural products in Eastern Europe, Middle East, and North Africa region. To provide a total figure regarding its agricultural exports in 2016 we can say Turkey exported over 1,780 kinds of agricultural products to more than 190 countries and achieved an export performance of USD 16.9 billion.


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