Country Listing

Cyprus Table of Contents




Citrus grove near Lefka (Lefke)
Courtesy Office of the "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus," Washington

Crops made up about 70 percent of the primary sector's contribution to the GDP of the "TRNC." Animal husbandry supplied nearly all the rest, with fishing and forestry accounting for a very small share (less than 1 percent between them). As in the Republic of Cyprus, agriculture in the "TRNC" was rainfed or irrigated. Rainfed, or dryland, agriculture produced cereals, fodder, tobacco, olives, carobs, almonds, and wine grapes. Irrigated agriculture yielded citrus fruits, deciduous fruits, potatoes, vegetables, table grapes, and bananas.

Cereal cultivation in the "TRNC" occupied one-third of all cultivated land. Barley production exceeded domestic consumption requirements, and the surplus was exported. Wheat production met two-thirds of domestic demand. Mechanized farming had significantly improved cereal production. In 1975 total cereal production stood at 59,913 tons. By 1987 production had nearly doubled, to 111,867 tons.

Citrus fruits (oranges, lemons, and grapefruit) were by far the most valuable agricultural products. These fruits usually accounted for at least two-thirds of the total agricultural exports of the "TRNC," and until the very end of the 1980s they were a more important export than manufactured goods. Citrus fruits were grown on irrigated land in areas with mild winter weather near Famagusta (Gazimagusa), Morphou (Güzelyurt), Lefka (Lefke), and Lapithos (Lapta).

Other important tree crops were carobs and olives, frequently grown intermixed on hillsides and mountain slopes. Only a few of the 1.5 million olive trees in the "TRNC" were grown in groves. The carob tree, a member of the pulse family, is a native of the eastern Mediterranean whose seeds are used mainly for cattle fodder. Most exports went to Britain. Deciduous tree crops common to temperate climates, including apples, pears, plums, apricots, pomegranates, and figs, were also grown in the "TRNC," but to a much lesser extent than in the Republic of Cyprus.

Industrial crops included fibers (cotton, flax, and hemp), spices (cumin and aniseed), and tobacco. Tobacco grew in the northeast corner of the island. At the end of the 1980s, tobacco was not an important crop, but it did yield some exports.

The diverse topography and climate of Cyprus permit the cultivation of a great variety of other crops. An important crop was the potato. Two potato crops a year permitted substantial exports, mainly to Britain. In the second half of the 1980s, potatoes accounted for about 5 percent of Turkish Cypriot exports. Potato farming developed during the post-1974 years as a result of an improved irrigation system. Other vegetables grown included cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, cucumbers, onions, squash, strawberries, tomatoes, artichokes, avocados, bananas, leeks, and okra. Most were grown not only for domestic consumption but also for export. Vines occupied the largest area in the Karpas Peninsula, and some groves were also found in the Kyrenia (Girne) region. Some fresh grapes were exported. Because of water shortages, however, grape production fell to only about 100 tons a year in the late 1980s.

Data as of January 1991