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Iran’s Need for Agricultural Reform

President-elect Hassan Rouhani may want to pay more attention to Iran’s agricultural sector, which has suffered under previous administrations.
Stalks of wheat are seen at a farm near Gonbad, 550 km (342 miles) northeast of Tehran, May 6, 2008. Picture taken May 6, 2008. REUTERS/Caren Firouz  (IRAN)  (PICTURE TAKEN MAY 6, 2008) - RTR20B48
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In March, Iran’s Expediency Council passed a decree titled “Drive to self-sufficiency in industry, agriculture, defense and security,” pertaining to the promotion of local industry and local production. Like other major strategic documents, this decree was signed by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, making the implementation of the plan a strategic goal for the government. One of the critical objectives of the document is the achievement of self-sufficiency in agricultural and food production; this has been part of the Iranian agenda since the Islamic Revolution in 1979, but has faced major hurdles.

Although the country has a sizable and significant agricultural sector (about 13% of GDP and 23% of the country’s employment, according to the latest official statistics), Iranian agriculture has suffered from a low level of investment as well as confusing government policies. In this brief paper, we will look at the challenges faced by the food and agricultural sector and how the new government of President-elect Hassan Rouhani can address these issues.

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