For centuries, Turkey has shaped world events. It has been, and still is the melting point of different cultures, beliefs, and international trade. The country of 80 million people is indeed a giant among nations. In its rich and illustrious history, Turkey has represented different things for many people. It is this allure that attracts over 40 million tourists annually to marvel on its wonders. Another compelling reason why people and businesses come to turkey is to look for opportunities. Opportunities to invest grow and generate profits. For many who have embarked on this journey, the quest has yielded positive gains.
Turkey is an emerging economy. With a GDP of 857 billion dollars, it is the13th largest economy in the world. There are many building blocks in this economy that has created an ecosystem that is able to withstand turmoil’s often associated with an economy that is reliant on a single sector. The diverse nature of the economy means that investment opportunities constantly evolve. Thanks to the government efforts such as the establishment of the investment support and promotion Agency of Turkey(ISPAT), previous hurdles on foreign investments have been streamlined making FDI’s easier. In the first quarter of 2017, the country attracted $2.8 billion net foreign direct investment (FDI). According to UNctad, United Nations trade and development arm, since 2003, the country has attracted more than $232bn in FDI. In comparison, the neighboring south eastern European states have attracted only $68bn. 54,493 companies with international capital operate in Turkey. A high number of foreign players is often an indicator of the confidence in the local economy and a high rate of return on investments. In addition, it confirms that indeed tangible investment opportunities do exist. One of these tangible investment opportunities is Agriculture.
Agriculture, a booming sector
During the last decade Turkey has grown to be one of the largest exporters of Agricultural products. Agriculture is big business in Turkey. In 2016, it accounted for 6.1% of the GDP. For many years, Turkey was knows as the primary export of fruits and vegetables. In recent years however, exports have significantly changed to include tree nuts, raisins, sunflower, pasta and floor. The booming agriculture enterprise has attracted foreign investments. Presently, 85 foreign nationals from twenty five countries do farm in 2,159 hectares spread in 20 provinces. Gulf countries form the bulk of foreign investors in Agriculture with the need to meet their countries food demands. According to the information for the Turkish central bank, FDI investment in Turkey in 2016 was $26 million. For the savvy agricultural investor, there is definitely an opportunity worth exploring in this sector. The main motivation to invest stems from the following factors:
- Supportive government: The government has rolled measure touching on regulations, tax structure, and investment opportunities such as improvements of irrigations and infrastructure, waiver on foreign land ownership, and lifting of 18 percent value-added tax (VAT) on fertilizer.
- Skilled low-cost labor force: investors have access to a young, talented, motivated and skilled workforce of 30 million. 36% of the labor force in Turkey has a high school or higher education diploma. This vast array of talented individuals, not only ensures that professional work is delivered, but also significantly reduce the cost of agricultural production.
- A large and growing domestic market: Turkey has the youngest population in Europe with an average age of 31. A young demography means a large market for food. Young, urban and educated young people are conscious on what they eat. They prefer fresh and healthy foods. This represents opportunities for foods such as walnuts.
- Observance of Muslim dietary laws: Islam is Turkey’s predominant religion. Muslim dietary law is adhered right from the production to consumption. This offers Turkey more export potential especially to countries south of its borders that are predominantly Muslim.
It’s is win-win situation
Located in a favorable climatic zone with large arable lands and abundance of water both rain fed and irrigated coupled with favorable government policy and a dynamic population, Turkey is in the right path towards being one of the leading agricultural countries. Indeed, the Turkish government has laid deliberate plans for the country to be one of the five biggest agricultural produce countries by the year 2023(the centennial of Turkey). For an investor who gets onto this train, there bound to be big dividends. Turkey is the right place, and this is the right time to invest.