Both irrigated and rain-fed farming are used in Iran. In 2005, some 13.05 million hectares of land was under cultivation, of which 50.45% was allocated to irrigated farming and the remaining 49.55% to rain-fed system.
|March 2001||March 2003||March 2005||March 2007||March 2008||March 2009||March 2010||March 2011|
|Production (Million Ton)||65||80||87||97||92||70||91||99|
Crops and plantstemperature fluctuation in different parts of the country and the multiplicity of climatic zones make it possible to cultivate a diverse variety of crops, including cereals (wheat, barley, rice, and maize (corn)), fruits (dates, figs, pomegranates, melons, and grapes), vegetables, cotton, sugar beets and sugarcane, pistachios (World's largest producer with 40% of the world's output in 2005), nuts, olives, spices e.g. saffron (World's largest producer with 81% of the world's total output), raisin(world's third largest producer & second largest exporter), tea, tobacco, Berberis(world's largest producer) and medicinal herbs. More than 2,000 plant species are grown in Iran; only 100 of which are being used in pharmaceutical industries. The land covered by Iran's natural flora is four times that of Europe.
Wheat, rice, and barley are the country's major crops. The Iranian grain sector is highly regulated. Producers receive subsidised access to input costs such as fertiliser and pesticides, as well as a guaranteed support price for their crops.
Wheat: In 2007 Iran exported close to 600,000 tones of wheat (out of a production of 15 million tonnes). Approximately 6 million tons of wheat will be purchased from 15 countries in 2009 because of the drought in 2008, thus making Iran the largest wheat importer in the world. Wheat production reached 14 million tons in 2010. According to the FAO, Iran is the 12th leading producer of wheat in the world, with an average production of 14 million tons in 2011.
Rice: Iran's total rice production stands at 2.2 million tons per annum whereas annual consumption is about three million tons (2008). Iran has imported about 630,000 tons of rice from UAE, Pakistan and Uruguay worth $271 million in 2008 and 1.4 million tons of rice, worth $800 million in 2009. Iran's rice imports drop by 40% in 2010. Iran’s rice production in 2011 was 2.4 million tons, which increased from a total of 2.3 million tons in the previous year. Iran has 3,800 rice milling units (2009). The average per capita consumption of rice in Iran is 45.5 kg, which makes Iranians the 13th biggest rice consumers.
Sugar: In 2008, Iran had a shortage of 400,000 tons to 600,000 tons of sugar nationwide. Sugar companies suffered from massive imports of cheap sugar over the past few years, which led to a 50% drop in the capacity of the sugar industry’s production in 2008. The lack of import tariffs was the main reason for the domestic sugar industry suffering in this manner.
Pistachio: Iran ranks the world's largest pistachio producer and exporter followed by USA and Turkey. After oil and carpets, pistachios are Iran's biggest exports: about 200,000 tons for $840 million in 2008. More than 350,000 people earn a living from the nut, most of them in vast groves of the desert oases in southeast. Iran's share in the global pistachio market reached 50 percent in 2010.
Saffron: Saffron is cultivated in many regions of the country, the provinces of North Khorasan, Khorasan Razavi and South Khorasan in the northeast have the highest production share. Iran's saffron is exported to the United Arab Emirates, Spain, Japan, Turkmenistan, France, Italy and US. The northeastern Khorasan Razavi province exported 57 tons of saffron worth $156.5 million to 41 countries in 2010. The high production cost comes from the exhaustive process of extracting the stamens from the flower and the amount of flowers necessary to produce small amounts of spice but the process is in the process of being automated now. Iran is the largest producer of Saffron with 93.7% of the world's total production.
Tea: Tea production rose to 190,000 tons in 2007 from 130,000 tons in 2004. 75,000 tons of tea is smuggled into Iran each year (2008).
Horticulture: Close to 19 million tons of horticultural crops will be produced by the end of Fourth Plan (2005–10).
Fruits: Iran exported more than 35,000 tons of citrus fruits valued at $20.8 million to 36 countries in 2008. Iran is the largest producer of berries and stone fruits in the world. See also: Fruit in Iran.
Livestocklivestock, sheep are by far the most numerous, followed by goats, cattle, donkeys, horses, water buffalo, and mules. The raising of poultry for eggs and meat is prevalent. One area where production infrastructure has progressed rapidly is the poultry sector. The face of the industry has now been transformed dramatically so that the entire supply chain process can take place domestically.
Iran has also a large dairy industry and imported close to two million tonnes of feed grain annually in 2006. The raising of Pigs is forbidden in Iran due to Islamic law.
Production of livestock increased over the past three years to reach 11.3 million tons in 2008 from the 10.6 million tons in 2007, and 9.9 million tons in 2006. Meat processing capacity is at 400,000 tons and 140 production units (2009). In 2008, per capita meat consumption was 26 kg. Iran produced 950,000 tons of red meat and 1,600,000 tons of chicken in 2010.
FishingAccess to the Caspian Sea, the Persian Gulf, the Gulf of Oman, and many river basins provides Iran the potential to develop excellent fisheries. The government assumed control of commercial fishing in 1952. One government-owned enterprise, the Northern Sheelat Company, was established in 1952, and a second, the Southern Sheelat Company, was established in 1961. In recent years, illegal and off-season fishing, discharge of industrial and agricultural pollutants, overfishing by other Caspian littoral states, and other unfavorable conditions have endangered Caspian fish resources. Between 1990 and 2004, Iran’s total annual Caspian Sea catch declined from 98,000 tons to 32,533 tons, including 463 tons of sturgeon, which yields high-quality caviar.
Iran has 1,786 kilometers of coastline on the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. These southern waters are rich in fish and other marine resources. In 2004 the catch off the southern coast totaled 299,000 tons. This represented an average annual increase of 12.6 percent since 1976. The southern catch either is used directly by households and restaurants or processed and preserved by industry. Expansion of the fishery infrastructure would enable the country to harvest an estimated 700,000 tons of fish annually from the southern waters. However, increased pollution from the oil industry and other enterprises poses a serious threat to this area’s fishing industry.
Since the Revolution, increased attention has been focused on producing fish from inland waters. Between 1976 and 2004, the combined take from inland waters by the state and private sectors increased from 1,100 tons to 110,175 tons.
Important fish include sturgeon (yielding its roe for caviar), bream, whitefish, salmon, mullet, carp, catfish, perch, and roach. More than 200 species of fish are found in the Persian Gulf, 150 of which are edible, including shrimps and prawns.
Some 692,000 tons of aquatics will be produced across the country by the end of the 2008, of which 236,000 tons would be bred and the rest fished from the sea. Per capita consumption of seafood in Iran will reach 8.5 kg by March 2009 and 10 kg a year later.
Caviar: Iranian caviar export is expected to reach $22 million by March 2009. Iran is the world's largest producer and exporter of caviar in the world, exporting more than 300 tonnes annually.
In 2005 Iran’s forest area totaled about 11 million hectares, approximately 7 percent of the country’s surface area. Adequate rainfall and a favorable climate have created 1.5 million hectares of dense forest in the Caspian region. The remainder is distributed among western forests (3.6 million hectares), southern forests (434,000 hectares), desert forests (620,000 hectares), and forests scattered in other locations. Supervised by the Department of Natural Resources, the Caspian forests produced 820,000 cubic meters of timber products in 2004, more than 90 percent of which was for industrial use. The largest and most valuable woodland areas are in the Caspian region and the northern slopes of the Elburz Mts., where many of the forests are commercially exploitable and include both hardwoods and softwoods. Although forests and pastures are nationalized and 12 percent of forested land is nominally protected, forest destruction by the private sector is routine. Limited forest areas, mismanagement, and destruction have compelled Iran to import lumber and wood products. In addition, forest fires destroy 20,000 hectares of forest area each year. Between 1954 and 2004, an estimated 41 percent of Iran’s forest land was lost. The cutting of trees is rigidly controlled by the government, which also has a reforestation program.