Turkey's New Economy Program aims to update the infrastructure on land planning by launching a land bank to determine inactive agricultural lands and putting them to productive use.
The initiative was announced by the Turkish Minister of Finance and Treasury Berat Albayrak, within the measures to lower food inflation.
With the new land banking scheme, the aim is to protect agricultural lands, ease the transfer of ownership, increase the sales, purchasing and renting activities and to maximise the efficient use of the lands. Therefore, the system is expected to keep the demand and supply in balance.
In the country, there are 2,940,000 hectares of inactive agricultural lands. The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has organised workshops on the issue in every region of the country and one in Ankara with the participation of public institutions, universities and civil society. A potential roadmap was discussed in these workshops.
Practices in Europe were analysed
Problems arising from inheritance, ownership, as well as credit and tenancy in land purchases, partnerships and sharecropping in land management were also discussed in workshops.
An agreement was reached to determine the best land banking system for Turkey and to build an institutional infrastructure in line with the new system. The current practices in France, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands and in other European countries were analysed.
Lands are poorly managed
According to the workshop report prepared by the ministry, multiple shareholders are common in Turkey's agricultural lands. Farms are small, dispersed and scattered. 67% of the 3,021,190 agricultural farms are smaller than 5 hectares and most of these do not generate sufficient revenues.
Lands are managed based on local rules and this causes problems in making medium to long-term plans and creating policies for a sustainable agriculture.
New regulations are expected to reduce vulnerabilities of the sector, help better planning and solve issues related to ownership.