Direction of agriculture in Turkey is a very broad topic to be discussed in an essay and in this essay, I have tried by best to address some of the most important topics. Recently, the Turkish agriculture is facing tough times and they are finding very hard to compete with the internation export market. This is because of the following reasons,
The main reason for such poor quality is becuase the farmers are not well educated and they are into agriculture for their day today bread and butter. This ignorance will cause more losses in the future of the Turkish agriculture market and also the farmers future. Since the farmers are not educated about the latest technologies, they’re using wrong pesticides in farming. As we all know, we can see everything about pesticides on it. (How it suppose to be used, how much, how often, to which plants can be applied etc.) But farmers are always taking it to second plan and do what they know. They are doing medication without looking at the duration of the effect in order to save our crops and also the day as we sayed. So what are the results of these?
In the year 2010 thousands of Turkish tomatoes were found to have active ingredient and were not allowed to enter the Russian market. This causes our tomatoes to stay on the border or sending them back and even stopping their exports and this caused a hig loss for the farmers. Now, let’s look to the results on Turkey. Because of our farmers couldn’t sell their tomatoes in Antalya, they poured truckloads of tomatoes into the roads. Tomato fields, which are planted with hope and labor are can not be collected because of the labor costs that farmers can’t afford. And as you can see lots of tomatoes are dying because of this. There is also another thing most of the farmers are complaining. Which is, in Turkey mediators/brokers are the ones who are eating the big part of the cake. For example, in March 2016 people poured their tomatoes which they produced to the road again. Because they are selling their tomatoes for 0,60 Turkish liras per kilogram to the mediators/brokers. And they’re selling it to the bazaar. In bazaars you can buy tomatoes for 3 Turkish liras. And if you want to buy from local market, it is 6 Turkish liras. So in this cycle, farmers are the ones whose doing most and earning least. Because of that most of farmers stopped producing in Turkey.
(Farmers are holding banners where the compared prices of tomatoes written on. March 2016)
Let’s return back to export. I would like to ask you a very easy question. Guess that you went to a market to buy a milk. After you bought it you understood that the expiration date of milk has already passed. So in this situation, would you like to buy a milk from that market ever again? I think no one will buy “anything” from that market again, Maybe that is the general attitude of the countries that we do export. ( I’m not including the political situation between Turkey and Russia. )
Let’s check our other agricultural products. I’m sure most of you know, Turkey is a country of agriculture. Maybe we deceived ourselves until today that “Turkey is going to be in advanced levels in agriculture.” However we still have to buy seeds like wheat, corn from abroad that we do not know what it is. Because the agriculture of this country is not enough for itself. Turkey, an agricultural country, imported 860 million dollars of seeds in the last 10 years.
Also, ofcourse there are some positive steps that taken in this country about agriculture. General trend about agriculture in Turkey is “organic products” for the last couple of years. Especially because of the professors who are talking about “nutrition and cancer relation” recently on TV, the trend towards organic products started and continues very fast. Because, like everyone else, we are fed up with artificiality. We are tired of seeing the cucumber we bought to our home, growing up more everyday. As we sayed there is an organic agriculture trend however it is very difficult to enter and sell our products in organic farming. Main reasons are the costs and prices. The prices of organic products are much higher compared to normal products. When we look at the economic situation of our country, the vast majority will still have to eat the products which they do not know anything about how its produced.
I would like to share a strange thing about our exports and imports. Which is one of the most important things when it comes to agriculture. Turkey is very lucky because of it’s climate. It’s very suitable for most of the agricultural products. You can see the amount of “organic hazelnut” we do export and import from 2014 below. (Yes, both export and import in same product.)
(Numbers are taken from: http://www.tarim.gov.tr/Konular/Bitkisel-Uretim/Organik-Tarim/Urunlerinin-Ithalat-Ve-Ihracati)
70% Of the world’s hazelnuts are producing in Turkey. However cannot determine the price by itself. I’m sure there are lots of reasons behind this including politics. However, in my opinion the main reason of this situation is, “ Still being a developing country. “
So, what can we do to improve agriculture in Turkey? I would like to talk towards the things above. Firstly, we have to educate our farmers. Government has big mission in this. Compulsory and free trainings for agriculture under cooperatives can be given to farmers. We have some support by government in the agricultural industry however it is not enough. (to examine : Low interest loans) As we sayed before, Turkey is one of the luckiest countries when it comes to relation between agriculture and climate. We must use this chance in the best possible way. We know that, in the developed countries the service sector has the highest percentage among industry and agriculture. Because the highest added value is in the service sector. But world population is growing fastly. There is an unlimited demand for nutrition. So, if we invest enough for our agriculture the results can be satisfying. The Most efficient agricultural areas are located on the east side of Turkey. Which we can say, less developed than the west side of Turkey. Huge amount of people don’t want to live or work there because of the fact that the place didn’t developed well. So once again, if government invest enough for east side ( which is in process ), most of the people will emigrate for agriculture.
As a result, we can say that the greatest way to improve agriculture is through the government.
By Ali Ihsan SIRTI