Iraq has lost 40 percent of its agricultural produce as a result of the conflicts. There are 12 million Iraqis; almost a third of the country’s population who reside in rural areas and depend on agriculture for their livelihoods, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
The lack of rainfall this season has further damaged the agricultural sector with the Iraqi Ministry of Agriculture predicting a loss of up to 30 percent of the wheat and barley crops due to drought, said the report. Nonetheless, today there are signs that Iraq’s agriculture is coming back, as it begins to employ more people.
The Iraqi agricultural sector has enormous potential. Arable land in Iraq is not restricted to the basins of the Euphrates and the Tigris rivers but extends to most of Badiyat al-Jazira, in north-eastern Iraq, and the western desert.
Iraq’s Import of food items, according to the latest official statistics, is equivalent to one quarter of the value of the import bill, i.e. $20 billion, 30% of the annual budget. Last year, Iraq imported food worth $6 billion a month to secure the ration card system. A report issued by the International Monetary Fund predicted that the rate of trade expenditures of Iraq will grow from 85.5 trillion dinars ($71 billion) in 2014, to reach 102.8 trillion Iraqi dinars ($85 billion) in 2018.
The government recently announced 88 projects in the agriculture sector that seek investments
Countrywide investment Projects: (86 Sub-Projects) in agriculture in Nineveh, Saladin, Anbar, Wasit, Holy Najaf, Dewaniya, and Thi Qar provinces for strategic crops. Total area is around 1.5 million donum for local need and the rest is for export.