Evaluation of Agricultural Policy Reforms in Turkey


Turkey has done much to reform its agricultural policies in recent years but its farm policies are still too protectionist, with high levels of support to farmers and heavy protection against imported foodstuffs.

Turkey could boost its competitiveness in agriculture by renewing efforts to decouple farm support from production while continuing with institutional reforms, according to this report. These steps will also prepare Turkey for possible future European Union membership.

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Recent policy reforms, notably in integrating environmental concerns into agriculture, strengthening the legal framework, reforming institutions and improving rural policy, have brought about important improvements. However, the productivity and efficiency of the Turkish agricultural sector still remain low, due to small, fragmented farms, low education attainments and poor agro-ecological conditions.

Turkey should shift its output-based farm support policies toward measures that help farmers increase competitiveness, raise farm incomes and tackle environmental problems.

Key facts and figures

  • Turkey is the world's 7th largest agricultural producer, and a top producer and exporter of crops ranging from hazelnuts and chestnuts to apricots, cherries, figs, olives, tobacco and tea.

  • Agriculture is Turkey's largest employer, representing 25% of the workforce, and contributes 8% of the country's economic activity.

  • Nearly two-thirds of Turkish farms are less than 5 hectares in size.

  • Support to farmers in Turkey was 34% of total farm income in 2007-2009, higher than the OECD average of 22%. Of this support to Turkish producers, 88% is in the form of market price supports, which distorts production and trade and is an inefficient way to transfer income to farmers.

Evolution of producer support in Turkey and OECD area, 1986 - 2009
(as % of total farm income)

Source: OECD Producer Support Estimates (PSE):



To improve the competitiveness of its farm sector, this report recommends that Turkey should:

  • Renew efforts to decouple farm support from production.

  • Move away from output-based policies towards measures that support research and development (R&D), skills training and advice to help improve productivity.

  • Facilitate off-farm activities as sources of farm household income.

  • Tackle environmental problems, in particular by strengthening water management policies.


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Further reading

  • OECD Producer Support Estimates (PSE)
    Indicators developed by OECD to measure government support to agriculture in the European Union, OECD member countries (including Turkey) and other major economies such as Brazil, China and Russia.

  • Agricultural Policies in OECD Countries: At a Glance 2010
    The share of farm receipts provided by government programmes rose slightly in OECD countries in 2009, reversing a declining trend in state support since 2004, says this overview of developments in agricultural policies.

  • Agricultural Policies in OECD Countries: Monitoring and Evaluation 2009
    Overall support to farmers in OECD countries in 2008 was 21% of farmers’ gross receipts, the lowest level since the mid-1980s. The decline was largely due to a narrowing of the gap between domestic and world agricultural commodity prices.

  • Evolution of Agricultural Support in Real Terms in OECD Countries and Emerging Economies
    This report analyses the evolution of prices, farm receipts and support to agricultural producers in real terms in OECD countries and other economies. It sets out specific purchasing power parities for a range of commodities to compare developments in output volume and prices at aggregate level.
    (OECD Food, Agriculture and Fisheries Working Papers No. 37)


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