HORTICULTURE IN TURKEY

Turkey lies between Asia and Europe. The rectangular Anatolia Peninsula protrudes from Asia towards Europe. The European part, known as Thrace, is separated from the Asian Anatolia Peninsula by two straits, the Dardanelles and Bosphorous. There is a long coastline providing mild climates and fertile land, especially in the south and north due to mountains running parallel to the coast. In the western Aegean region, the mountains run perpendicular to the coastline, with fertile valleys around the rivers flowing in between. The center of Turkey is a semi-arid plateau and high mountains cover the eastern part. The geography and topography create different climatic zones varying from cold temperate to subtropical, which in turn contribute to a rich natural flora and land suitable for plant production. Consequently, agriculture has been an important contributor to the region's development from times immemorial.

Agriculture is a vital sector of Turkish society. It provides employment opportunities, generates income and uses natural resources sustainably. Farms are generally small and dispersed. Horticulture provides additional opportunities for small farmers, especially those in suitable climatic conditions, to produce high value crops multiple times a year to sustain the increasing demand for fresh fruit and vegetables from local markets. However, smaller farm sizes, can be counterproductive by lowering productivity per unit area and reducing quality while increasing production costs. Currently, the aging of rural populations is becoming a limiting factor. Climate change, may be a threat in the future and requires site-specific research. There is an urgent need to develop new fruit cultivars to meet changing consumer preferences. In ornamentals, the problem of supplying propagation material needs to be addressed. Many private companies are investing in different stages of the value chain. Best practices are well-known in crops like cherries, figs, grapes and tomatoes. The provision of infrastructure that affects the success of horticultural enterprises is being supported through government funding. Despite the increasing trends seen in all sub-sectors of horticulture, there are many challenges ahead. However, Turkey, with its strategic location, rich genetic resources and skillful farmers, possesses an undeniable potential for a successful future in the world of horticulture.

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