Agrarian Reform at the Current Stage of Development

Agrarian reform means different things in different areas and to different groups of rural people:

  • redistribution of large feudal estates, but only to a degree that allows the creation of viable units;
  • enlargement of holdings too small under today's economic and technological conditions to allow a reasonable family income to be achieved;
  • assistance to smallholders who want to give up agriculture by providing non-agricultural jobs, training for them, and facilitating transfer of land to those who are still interested in fanning;
  • support to family farms by providing supporting services and advice, especially in farm management, in order to reduce risk;
    provision of other forms of social security for aged people than for them to continue working their land.

These requirements belong to different fields of policy:

  • land redistribution, enlargement of too small holdings and facilitating transfer of land are measures of land tenure reform;
  • provision of supporting services, extension and improvements in the infrastructure are measures of land management reform;
  • job creation and training for non-agricultural jobs are measures outside conventional agrarian reform and count among instruments of regional development policy;
  • providing social security for aged people is a task of social policy.

The requirements of agriculture as of today, therefore, are

  • to a small extent, the task of conventional agrarian reform, and this only in limited regions of the country and for a certain number of estates;
  • to a larger extent, they require reforms in land management, which is the task of agricultural policy, sometimes modernized to meet the challenges of today;
  • to another large extent, they are a task for general economic development policy which has to facilitate the absorption of more and more members of the shrinking agricultural population and has to supply an increasing quantity of agricultural inputs;
  • and last but not least, the often helpless aged people require measures of social policy to guarantee their livelihood, and, at the same time, make it possible to transfer their land to those households which will make more productive use of it.

While agrarian reform is of great importance for certain regions, one should not forget the priorities:

The overall goal for agricultural policy at the current stage of Turkey's development is to achieve income parity for the agricultural population as compared to other sectors. This cannot be achieved without reducing the number of farms and without farm size increase to a level that allows the application of modern technology.

The current situation requires an agricultural policy with

  • regional differences in the goals of agricultural policy, and
  • differentiation of policies according to various target groups.

Conventional agrarian reform plays a regionally important, but overall limited role in this policy. A modern agricultural policy, integration of agricultural development in regional development policy and extension of social policy to rural areas, today, are indispensable components of a reform policy for agriculture which has a chance of meeting the requirements. As of today, agricultural sector policy alone cannot fulfil the requirements, but only agriculture's incorporation in the countries' overall development policy.