Agriculture and rural life in Iraq have gone through several changes in the past few decades. The region is characterized by high population growth, urbanization, and water scarcity, which poses a challenge to maintaining food security and production.
Iraq’s agricultural production is almost solely for the domestic market, and imports far exceed exports. Agricultural exports are minimal and have been of comparatively little value in contrast to imports.
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% 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.