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Countries / Territories

Country Profile Iran

  • IRAN

    Location

    Situated in southwestern Asia, Iran covers an area of 1,648,000 km2. Iran is bounded on the North by Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, and the Caspian Sea, on the East by Afghanistan and Pakistan, on the South by the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf, on the West by Iraq, and on the North West by Turkey, with a total land boundary length of 5,440 km. The coastline is 2,440 km. The shoreline on the Caspian Sea is 740 km. Iran's territory includes several islands in the Persian Gulf. Iran has a continental type of climate, with cold winters and hot summers prevalent across the plateau. On the plateau, the annual rainfall does not exceed 30 cm, with the deserts and the Persian Gulf littoral receiving less than 13 cm. Snow falls heavily on the mountain peaks and is the principal source of water for irrigation in spring and early summer. The Caspian littoral is warm and humid throughout the year, and the annual rainfall is from about 100 to 150 cm.

    Agricultural Sector

    Iran's agricultural sector contributed 12 percent of the GDP in 2005 and employed 30% (2001) of the labour force (CIA). Some northern and western areas support rain-fed agriculture, while other areas require irrigation for successful crop production. Wheat, rice, and barley are the country's major crops. Total wheat and rice production fails to meet domestic food requirements, however, making substantial imports necessary. Other principal crops include potatoes, legumes, vegetables, fruits, fodder plants, oil seeds, nuts (pistachios, almonds, and walnuts), cotton, sugarcane, sugar beets, herbs, spices, tea, and tobacco (FAOSTAT). Honey is collected from beehives, and silk is harvested from silkworm cocoons. Livestock products include lamb, beef, goat meat, poultry, eggs, milk, butter, cheese, wool, and leather. Major agricultural exports include fresh and dried fruits, nuts, animal hides, processed foods, and spices (Food and Fertilizer Technology Center).

    Brief overview of organic farming

    Traditional small-scale farming was the main structure of farming communities for centuries and this has caused a tremendous accumulation of indigenous knowledge in farming practices and food production. Therefore, natural farming used to be a widespread practice not more than half a century ago and is still appreciated to some extent by the farmers. According to IFOAM & FiBL (2006), in the Islamic Republic of Iran there are 100 hectares of land under organic management and only one registered organic farm. Although the remains of traditional systems of food production, completely organic both in technical and social terms, are still in operation in remote areas, these systems have not been regarded as organic in the present context of organic production and in fact they could be considered as ignored organic farmers (IFOAM).

    Brief overview of key organic products

    The organic products grown are rice, maize, wheat ,legumes and nuts. There is no evidence of a domestic market for organic products, and certified production is mainly exported.


    The network

    At December 2006, there is no organic organisation within Iran registered with IFOAM, nor are there any national organic standards. A few public and private
    initiatives in the country do state their intent to develop organic production: some non-certified production for local consumption, and some certified for export, mainly Jasmine rice. There is no evidence of a domestic organic market.



    Ministry of Agricultural Jihad
    Website: http://www.maj.ir/english/Main/Default.asp
     


    Iranian Agricultural Engineering Research Institute
    Website: http://214.176.87.99/fani/Start
     


    Agricultural Research, Education and Extension Organization
    Website: http://www.areo.ir
     


    Iran's Agriculture and GATT
    Website: http://www.netiran.com/
     


    Iran's Agriculture and Water Sectors
    Website: www.netiran.com/Htdocs/Clippings/DEconomy/971001XXDE02.html 
     

    Iran Agriculture
    Website: www.iranagri.com
     


    Aquasat (Food and Agriculture Organization)
    Website: www.fao.org/waicent/faoinfo/agricult/agl/aglw/aquastat/iran1.html
     


    Iran Industry and Agriculture Company
    Website: www.iran-export.com/
     


    References

    - FAO, 24.10.2006: Key Statistics of Food and Agriculture External Trade. Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Statistics Division.  www.fao.org/es/ess/toptrade/trade.asp?dir=exp&country=3&ryear=2004  and www.fao.org/es/ess/top/country.html?lang=en 

    - FAO, IFOAM, and Earth Net Foundation (2003): Proceedings of the Seminar on the Production and Export of Organic Fruit And Vegetables in Asia.
    http://www.fao.org/docrep/006/AD429E/ad429e00.HTM

    - Ministry of Agriculture of Islamic Republic of Iran, Agricultural Statistics and Information Department, 2000.

    - IFOAM & FiBL (2006): The World of Organic Agriculture. Statistics and Emerging Trends 2006. International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM), Bonn & Research Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL, Frick, pp. 108-117.

    - Yussefi, Minou and Willer, Helga, Eds. (2003): The World of Organic Agriculture, Statistics and Future Prospects. Foundation Ecology and Agriculture, Germany and International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements.