Ayça Akarçay - Agricultural Growth in the 1930s

Agricultural Growth in the 1930s in Turkey

Assessment of the economic development of the 1930s in Turkey have mainly emphasized industrial development, which is attributed to state-led policies (etatism). However, developments in agricultural sector were also important. Agricultural production, especially cereal production, increased despite the deflationary context. As such, it constituted another factor behind the industrial growth. Existing literature on the agricultural sector in Turkey in 1930s either emphasizes state policies, which are said to have favoured small peasantry; or the impoverishment and differentiation of the peasantry, attributing growth to external demand; or to population recovery; or to favourable weather conditions.

It appears that exports could not have been a source of growth. State intervention -price support programmes in wheat production, wheat purchases, credits to the agricultural sector or more specifically to cereal producers. Peasantry differentiation does not seem to have occurred on a major scale, meaning that small peasantry prevailed as under Ottoman rule; otherwise, the production increase in cereals could not be explained. The population increase was indeed an important factor; however, as Per capita production also increased it was certainly not the only factor behind the growth as such. There is no evidence that the second half of the 1930s was a particularly favourable period in terms of rainfall.

If the explanations given in the literature do not explain the growth or are insufficient, other factors such as the nature of the peasantry and the dynamics of that strata seem to have been the main factors behind the growth.

(Approved by Prof . Dr. Sevket Pamuk, Prof. Dr. Zafer Toprak, Assoc. Prof. Seyfettin Gürsel