Iran Economy

Iran Economy

ECONOMY: AGRICULTURE, LIVESTOCK AND FISHING

Cultivated land continues to represent a very modest portion (about a tenth) of the global surface, while uncultivated and unproductive land constitutes more than half of it. Given the nature of the territory, irrigation is essential for most soils. The country of Iran has in fact good water resources, a better rationalization of which would allow a much more productive irrigated agriculture. According to smber, the ancient qanat system by far prevails, long underground channels in which the water taken from the groundwater flows with artesian wells, even very deep, but there is no lack of modern irrigation systems that use mechanical pumps. Furthermore, the construction of some dams and related canalization works has allowed the creation of vast irrigation areas, where the productivity of the soils destined for the most profitable industrial or export crops is high. Despite a certain backwardness of the agricultural sector, which contributes to a tenth of the GDP, Iran ranks in the first positions in Asia and in the world for the cultivation of some products, which manage to fuel exports.

Much of the arable land is occupied by wheat, which can grow both on arid and steppe soils and in mountainous areas; Khuzistan, Lorestan), where the conditions of the soil and the spring rainfall does not necessitate irrigation. Barley is also very popular. The third most important cereal is rice, which finds the most suitable environment in the fertile and flat regions of the Caspian coast: in particular the landscape of Māzandarān, around the city of Sārī, is characterized by irrigated terraces that follow one another on the sides of the mountains. The other cereals (corn, millet, sorghum) give very limited productions. Among the crops destined for local food, potatoes, various vegetables (tomatoes, onions, beans, etc.) and numerous varieties of fruit are also important: grapes, apples, pistachios, peaches, citrus fruits, apricots and, in the southern areas, dates. Fruit, fresh or dried, especially dried grapes, is also widely exported. On the other hand, the production of wine, a drink prohibited by the Muslim religion, is non-existent. Among the industrial plants, cotton dominates; it finds generally favorable climatic conditions in the country and gives good yields where adequate irrigation of the land is possible: the most widespread areas are Māzandarān and Khorāsān, that is, the North and North-East of the country. Some oil plants, such as flax, sesame and castor, are of minor importance, while the production of soybeans, however, introduced in the territory in a fairly recent period, is discreet.

Traditional crops are tobacco, which has a large area of ​​diffusion but whose highest quality is obtained in Azerbaijan, and tea. Finally, sugar beet (of which it has become the second largest producer on the continent) and sugar cane recorded a significant increase in production in order to satisfy the growing demands of the internal market, for which numerous sugar refineries now operate. The forest area covers 6.8% of the national territory, but was once much more extensive; real woods are limited to the humid Caspian side of the Elburz and the most watered flanks of the Lorestān ranges. With the agrarian reform, the forests became the property of the State, which is carrying out a vast reforestation and conservation work of this heritage. Timber production largely meets domestic needs. Some vegetable gums also have considerable economic value (tragacanth) and gum-resin collected from plants (astragalus, asafoetida) that grow wild in the country. § An activity that is always fundamental is breeding, especially sheep and goats, not only for the nomadic populations but also for the sedentary ones, for the peasants of the villages, who integrate their poor economy with sheep and goats, animals that they adapt well to the lean pastures of the steppes (permanent meadows and pastures cover 26.9% of the land area). The country has a good number of sheep (the country is the fourth in the world for the number of sheep), which supply both meat and milk and above all wool, which is linked to the manufacture of the renowned Persian carpets, partly still hand-woven, but mostly industrially produced. In addition, especially in the North-West, sheep of particularly valuable and selected breeds are bred, whose skins are used for making furs. There are also numerous goats and poultry; cattle are increasing sharply, especially in northern Iran, where modern and rational dairy farms have been set up near the major urban centers. Donkeys and horses are still widely used throughout the country, while other animals that are already widespread, such as dromedaries and buffaloes, are in sharp decline; pigs whose meat is prohibited for religious reasons are not bred; Finally, sericulture is traditional, which finds the most favorable environmental conditions in the Caspian area. § Fishing plays a less important role on the whole; the maritime one in the Persian Gulf has its main center in Bandar-Abbās, equipped with canning industries and which is developing on an industrial and commercial level. Much more important is the fishing of sturgeon in the Caspian waters: here the best equipped fishing port is Bandar-e ‘Abbās (formerly Bandar-e Pahlavī), where the fish is landed and where, with the sturgeon’s eggs, we proceed to the preparation of caviar.

Iran Economy