Turkey has a population of nearly 80 million. Located between Europe and Asia, the nation is made up of desert, Mediterranean, and mountainous regions and climates. The daily per-capita food energy consumption is a high 3,480 kcal, ranking 15th in the world, behind Germany and ahead of Norway.
Agricultural production in Turkey focuses on cereals, fruit and vegetable crops. The most important food crops are tomatoes, olives, grapes, wheat, sugar beet, barley, potato, maize and apple. The agriculture and food sector in Turkey accounts for 10-15% of gross national income and employs nearly 30% of the country’s working population. Turkey, therefore, relies heavily on the success of agriculture within its own borders, both for a strong economy and food security.
While Turkey very clearly relies on its own resources to ensure food for its population, like all other countries, Turkey also relies on agricultural imports. Among the notable imports are cotton, wheat and soybeans. Still, 32-43% of the food energy consumed in Turkey comes from crops that are not native to region. Both a growing population and an agricultural dependent economy, increase the importance of the genetic resources used to improve agriculture.
Ensuring that notable imports such as wheat are able to adapt to the challenges that agriculture faces today and tomorrow is of the utmost importance, not only to Turkey, but also the world.
Turkey ratified the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) in 2007, joining 134 other contracting parties in commitment to the global system.
Data: FAOSTAT, CIA Factbook, World Bank, National Geographic
Image Credit: Dennis Jarvis