Turkey Turkey Turkey Turkey


Agriculture and Horticulture Turkey

Agriculture and horticulture in numbers


Agriculture accounts for only a small part of gross domestic production (GDP) in Europe, and it is considered that the overall vulnerability of the European economy to changes that affect agriculture is low (3). However, agriculture is much more important in terms of area occupied (farmland and forest land cover approximately 90 % of the EU's land surface), and rural population and income (4).


Agricultural fields, rangelands and forests cover 35%, 28% and 26% of the country, respectively. Soil structure is deep and fertile only in the flat lowlands and soils under significant erosion risk constitute up to 80% of the land surface (17).

Vulnerabilities Turkey

Crop yield

It is estimated that Turkey will experience serious losses in agricultural production as a result of global climate change (19). 

The majority of studies simulate declines in maize yields, one of the country’s major crops, with climate change. However, it is more difficult to draw a conclusion on the impact of climate change on wheat yields in Turkey, the country’s major crop (14).

For instance, simulations for 2079 under the combined effect of CO2-fertilisation and increased temperature (SRES A2 emissions scenario) suggest an increase of 16% and 36% in grain yield of wheat with two climate models respectively, and a decrease by about 25% and an increase by 3% in maize yield, respectively (15). Other multi-model climate projections indicate a decline of wheat yields of 17-20% by 2061-2080, based on three emissions scenarios (A2, A1B and B1) (16).

According to model projections only up to 2%-13% of current Turkish cropland areas will undergo an improvement of suitability of cultivation over the 21st century (for SRES A1B and A1B-2016-5-L scenarios). In contrast, the models showed a very high degree of consensus towards a large proportion of current Turkish croplands undergoing declining suitability from 2030 onwards (75%-95%). By 2100 this would by even 86%-100% under the A1B scenario. So for Turkey there is a strong consensus between models of climate change giving declining suitability for cultivation over most current croplands (14).


Agriculture, with a 74 % share, is the biggest water user in Turkey. The agricultural sector is expected to be most severely affected by climate change. The widespread use of inefficient irrigation methods is considered to be an important reason for the predicted future water shortages (18). 

The surface of irrigated land is increasing in Turkey. Irrigated area in Turkey has been increased approximately 400% since 1960’s and reached 5.2 million ha in 2001. Another issue besides the amount of irrigated area is the actual irrigation techniques used. The main problem in agricultural consumption is related to the efficiency of irrigation methods: 88.5% of the total irrigation area is irrigated through flood irrigation, 8.5% is spring irrigation and only 3% is drip irrigation. Average irrigation efficiency is only 45% (1).

Overall, the area under irrigation in the northern Mediterranean countries is expected to remain broadly constant in coming years, although agricultural development policies in the southern and eastern Mediterranean countries (e.g. Algeria, Morocco, Syria and Turkey) include plans to extend the area of irrigated agriculture (2). In this respect it is worth noting that in countries such as Turkey, agriculture plays a much greater role in the national economy than elsewhere and that the high agricultural water use is to some degree compensated for by a relatively low use by industry (2).

Vulnerabilities Europe - Climate change not main driver

Socio-economic factors and technological developments

Climate change is only one driver among many that will shape agriculture and rural areas in future decades. Socio-economic factors and technological developments will need to be considered alongside agro-climatic changes to determine future trends in the sector (4).

From research it was concluded that socio-economic assumptions have a much greater effect on the scenario results of future changes in agricultural production and land use then the climate scenarios (5).

The European population is expected to decline by about 8% over the period from 2000 to 2030 (6).

Scenarios on future changes in agriculture largely depend on assumptions about technological development for future agricultural land use in Europe (5). It has been estimated that changes in the productivity of food crops in Europe over the period 1961–1990 were strongest related to technology development and that effects of climate change were relatively small. For the period till 2080 an increase in crop productivity for Europe has been estimated between 25% and 163%, of which between 20% and 143% is due to technological development and 5- 20% is due to climate change and CO2 fertilisation. The contribution of climate change just by itself is approximately a minor 1% (7).

Care should be taken, however, in drawing firm conclusions from the apparent lack of sensitivity of agricultural land use to climate change. At the regional scale there are winners and losers (in terms of yield changes), but these tend to cancel each other out when aggregated to the whole of Europe (5).

Future changes in land use

If technology continues to progress at current rates then the area of agricultural land would need to decline substantially. Such declines will not occur if there is a correspondingly large increase in the demand for agricultural goods, or if political decisions are taken either to reduce crop productivity through policies that encourage extensification or to accept widespread overproduction (5).

Cropland and grassland areas (for the production of food and fibre) may decline by as much as 50% of current areas for some scenarios. Such declines in production areas would result in large parts of Europe becoming surplus to the requirement of food and fibre production (5). Over the shorter term (up to 2030) changes in agricultural land area may be small (8).

Although it is difficult to anticipate how this land would be used in the future, it seems that continued urban expansion, recreational areas (such as for horse riding) and forest land use would all be likely to take up at least some of the surplus. Furthermore, whilst the substitution of food production by energy production was considered in these scenarios, surplus land would provide further opportunities for the cultivation of bioenergy crops (5).

Europe is a major producer of biodiesel, accounting for 90% of the total production worldwide (9). In the Biofuels Progress Report (10), it is estimated that in 2020, the total area of arable land required for biofuel production will be between 7.6 million and 18.3 million hectares, equivalent to approximately 8% and 19% respectively of total arable land in 2005.

The agricultural area of Europe has already diminished by about 13% in the 40 years since 1960 (5).

Adaptation strategies

Options to address increases in water scarcity in agriculture include (11):

  • Within the agriculture sector efficiency gains, in terms of water use per unit area, of up to 50% are thought to possible through switching irrigations technologies from gravity to drip or sprinkler feed systems;
  • Conservation tillage, the practice of leaving some of the previous season’s crop residues on the soil surface;
  • establish native varieties of forests or grassland, or to allow natural regeneration;
  • Small scale water conservation measures;
  • Other options include changing crop types and management practices to one which are less water demanding and better adapted to climate conditions under water scarcity. In the south of Europe, short season cultivars that are planted earlier are more likely to reach maturity in advance of the arrival of extreme high summer temperatures, thus avoiding injury from heat and water stress (12). The rice sector in Spain, Portugal and Greece is particularly vulnerable (13). Water availability is likely to become the major driver of future land use, precipitating land use changes;
  • Biotechnology.

A lot of information on adaptation strategies is presented on this website on the pages for other southern European countries such as Spain, Greece and Italy.

Wheat yield

So far, climate change leads has led to an 8-day advancement of the harvesting date of wheat in Turkey (22). Also, wheat yield is decreasing due to the higher temperatures that shorten the vegetative duration and the grain filling period (23). Adaptation estimates that are reported by modelling studies seem to underestimate the possible benefits of adaptation. They do not include the compensating yield effect of farmers’ autonomous adaptation efforts in the form of date and cultivar adjustments in response to shifts in phenological events. These autonomous efforts have an extra positive effect on crop yields. The positive effect of cultivar adjustments is larger than the positive effect of data adaptation. Co-adapting both cultivar and date adaptation may lead to substantial improvement in yields. The fact that a substantial proportion of farmers still do not engage in these forms of adaptation stresses the importance of improving farmers’ access to communication technologies and reliable information on climate change. And supporting farmers through the development and diffusion of new cultivars that are adaptable to shifts in phenological events (20).


The references below are cited in full in a separate map 'References'. Please click here if you are looking for the full references for Turkey.

  1. Dogdu and Sagnak (2008)
  2. Blue Plan (2005), in: European Environment Agency (2009)
  3. EEA (2006), in: EEA, JRC and WHO (2008)
  4. EEA, JRC and WHO (2008)
  5. Rounsevell et al. (2005)
  6. UN (2004), in: Alcamo et al. (2007)
  7. Ewert et al. (2005), in: Alcamo et al. (2007)
  8. Van Meijl et al. (2006), in: Alcamo et al. (2007)
  9. JNCC (2007), in: Anderson (ed.) (2007)
  10. European Commission (2006), in: Anderson (ed.) (2007)
  11. Anderson et al. (2007)
  12. Maracchi et al. (2005), in: Anderson (ed.) (2007)
  13. Agra Europe (2007), in: Anderson (ed.) (2007)
  14. MET Office (2011)
  15. Yano et al. (2007), in: MET Office (2011)
  16. Özdogan (2011), in: MET Office (2011)
  17. Laušević et al. (2008)
  18. Aktaş (2014)
  19. Mengu et al. (2008), in: Aktaş (2014)
  20. Karapinar and Özertan (2020)
  21. FAO (2018), in: Karapinar and Özertan (2020)
  22. Şensoy et al. (2014); Türkoğlu et al. (2014), both in: Karapinar and Özertan (2020)
  23. Özdoǧan (2011); Ozkan and Akcaoz (2002), both in: Karapinar and Özertan (2020)