Iraqi Economists Network

شبكة الاقتصاديين العراقيين

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KAPIT* Iraqi Agriculture Overview

The economy of Iraq is mostly oil-dependent as oil revenues contribute to over two-thirds of the GDP and nearly most of the exports and government revenues. Investment in the oil sector has reached 66% of the total expenditure investment in 2017. The GDP of Iraq in 2019 has reached USD 234.09 Billion with an annual growth of 4.401%. The unemployment rate is 10.26% in men while 30.96% in women (World Bank, 2017). However, the decline in oil prices and market demand would have a substantial negative effect on the economy.
The agricultural sector development should be a priority since it plays a role in revitalizing and supporting the economy, achieving social stability, fighting climate change, also providing 18% of employment making it the largest private-sector employer. Investing in this sector and implementing policies and programs to foster its growth and development would help fight the poverty in rural areas which is 30% twice of that in urban areas, it would also increase food security, meet domestic needs, and contribute to the exports. Regardless of the hindering struggles, armed conflict, and lack of long term development plans, agriculture is still a major source of  livelihood for the poor and food insecure and is  the largest source of rural employment and it is worth mentioning here that agriculture is the second contributor to the GDP after oil revenues and contributes to 5% of the total GDP, and it resides in the middle comparing to other MENA region countries between Sudan, the highest and Qatar, the lowest. Agriculture is a key sector identified for
diversifying the economy, accelerating non-oil growth, increasing income, and improving income distribution and gender equality and its growth has been shown to be an important driver of poverty reduction and job creation since it is very labor-intensive, especially among the rural population which is third of the total population with double the poverty rates reaching 30% in rural areas.

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