Iran’s food security

8 Aug 2014

Summary: Despite considerable economic progress and transformation in the last 30 years, Iran faces a number of issues that threaten its food security. At the individual level, it is experiencing a nutrition transition. The number of people experiencing hunger is lower than ever before, but, changing dietary trends are leading to increased rates of malnutrition and obesity. Iran’s reliance on international trade increases its vulnerability to external volatilities, especially as sanctions limit its oil revenue. The agricultural sector suffers from underinvestment and arid climatic conditions limit productivity. Broad economic reform is necessary and has been initiated in some sectors; however, the chances of success are hampered by the intricate economic and international contexts.

Key points

  • Iran is in the middle of a nutrition transition. Although the number of people suffering from hunger is lower than ever before, changing dietary patterns are leading to increased incidences of obesity.
  • The government’s goal of agricultural self-sufficiency is unlikely to be achieved; international trade remains essential to feed the population.
  • Underinvestment, outdated production practices and unfavorable climatic conditions, limit Iran’s agricultural production. The sector has long been neglected and requires increased investment and modernisation.
  • International sanctions are impacting on Iran’s economy and threatening its food security.
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