Opportunities exist in revolutionizing productivity and production through inputs, techniques and technology, supply chain management, as well as developing new industries, such as food processing, that currently do not exist. Areas of potential investment include:
Water shortages, high levels of salinity, and desertification have badly affected agricultural production. Irrigation is essential to agricultural production, and areas for investment include new systems, center pivot, drip, land reclamation/restoration and the renovation of the existing canal-based flood irrigation systems.
Iraqi needs new and appropriate varieties of seed inputs matched to climatic conditions and cultural and management practices. Fertilizers will also be required to capture the benefits of improved seed varieties. Additionally, agriculture equipment is in high demand throughout the country.
There is substantial room for improvement infrastructure for handling, storing, and distributing agricultural inputs and outputs.
Opportunities also exist to link sectors e.g. for feed mills to serve as the link between feed grain producers and livestock producers, and lead to the development of more intensive and efficient livestock production.
The average farm in Iraq measures 5 hectares. To realize potential productivity gains, a larger scale, input and technology dependent agriculture could be developed in multiple areas of the agriculture industry. The NIC has identified over 500,000 hectares of unoccupied and unfarmed arable land that would have access to abundant groundwater through proposed wells.
Packaged food: The current demand for packaged food is in three main product areas (biscuits, tomato paste and confections). Currently this is being met 100% through imports. A study done by USAID in 2006 shows that the markets for biscuits, snacks, tomato paste and ketchup, powdered chocolate drinks, and powdered soft drinks are likely to develop quickly. Likewise the markets for candies, factory bottled soft drinks, confectionery products, basic baby foods based on powdered milk, and packaged cereals will expand as well.
Iraqi is heavily dependent on imports to satisfy the demand for chicken, beef and sheep. The introduction of modern, cost-efficient poultry farming and processing into Iraq has the potential to offer considerable rewards to interested investors. The need for slaughterhouses and poultry processing plants has been expressed in the provinces below.
With limited access to pesticides and chemical fertilizers, many Iraqi date and pomegranate farmers are already producing produce that can easily be certified as organic. There are significant opportunities for investment in getting these products to market.