Agriculture in Iraq

Agriculture in Iraq Last updated on Tuesday 20th April 2010

The land under cultivation in Iraq, which is predominantly an agricultural country, is about 12%. Most of this land is in the region of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. According to statistics, agricultural production in 2000 included 226,000 metric tons of barley, 384,000 metric tons of wheat and 130,000 metric tons of rice. Before the UN sanctions imposed on Iraq following the Gulf War in 1991, the country’s exports of dates accounted for a major share of world trade in this product. Other Iraqi fruits products include pear, apples, oranges, grapes, figs and pomegranates. Raising livestock is another economic activity related to land use in Iraq. 10 % of Iraq's land area is suitable for livestock grazing. The livestock population in 2000 included 19 million poultry, 6.1 million sheep, 1,3 million goats and 1.1 million cattle

A network of canals and irrigation ditches around the Tigris and Euphrates rivers directs water from the Euphrates across the valley into the lower-lying Tigris, and provides some well-irrigated farmland. Although about 50% of Iraq's available land is arable, only about 13% is actually under cultivation.

Before the 1958 revolution, much of Iraq's farmland was in the form of large estates. The revolution forced these estates to be broken up and allocated to state and collective farms. Low food production resulted in the land being once again opened to private farmers, and by 1990, nominal rents for land were being paid to the government.

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