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Agriculture Sector in the Kurdistan Region



Aqra Plains Rice, grain & vegetables / Poultry & dairy farms
Erbil Plains Grain production / Feed & vegetable production / Poultry & dairy cattle
Hareer Plains Vegetables & oil production
Kalar Multiple projects
Rania Plains Multiple projects
Sharezoor Valley Dairy & feed production / Vegetables
Zakho Plains Grain & livestock

The Kurdistan region enjoys a combination of superb geological and meteorological aspects to nurture a flourishing agricultural sector. Yet, the strained government budget and ailing agricultural infrastructure have held back the sector from fulfilling its potential.

According to Kurdistan’s Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources, the region imports more than 90 percent of its food. The demand for food products is slated to be even higher in 2020 with a population expansion to 6 million people from the current 5.4 million. Between 2006 and 2013 the government has invested $677 million and is projected to invest around $1.2 billion by 2020 to keep up with demand and attain food security.

Ministry reports reveal that agriculture accounts for 10% of the total GDP in the region, with 9% of the population depending on farming as a source of living. The Kurdish government’s revenue from agriculture stood at $840 million in 2015, making up 10% of the region’s annual budget; however, the ministry is rallying for $3 billion to further boost this sector.

A fertile land of opportunities

Reinforcing the role of the private sector through investments and incorporating the use of modern technologies for a higher irrigation efficiency and enhanced crop production will strengthen the contribution of the agricultural sector to economic growth.
According to Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources:

  • The region’s lands allocated to agriculture increased from 1.7 million hectares to 3.1 million in 2016
  • crop production is expected to increase to nearly one million tons while the region requires just 600,000 tons
  • The labor force engaged in the production, distribution, and marketing of farming goods had increased to 20% in 2016 from 16% in 2013
  • 170 private agricultural projects were granted licenses by the government in 2015, more than double the amount since the previous year
  • There are 153,000 farmers in the Kurdistan Region

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