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“Beyond Border Farming”  Gets Underway
Domestic Economy

“Beyond Border Farming” Gets Underway

Iran has set in motion its agro outsourcing program called "Beyond Border Farming", announced the minister of agricultural jihad.
Mahmoud Hojjati added that Iran has 1 million hectares of land in Ukraine, Tajikistan and a few African countries under cultivation of water-intensive crops.
“The yields will be shipped to Iran or might be sold where they are grown. The ministry will expand the land outsourcing program, if drought persists,” Mehr News Agency quoted Hojjati as saying.
The government-led program is aimed at reducing water consumption and ensuring food security by leasing arable land in other countries for growing crops such as oilseeds and grains.
“The private sector has shouldered the responsibility of implementing the project,” he said.
In mid-September, Isfahan Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture signed a memorandum of understanding with Ukraine’s Kherson and Donetsk provinces to lease arable land and cultivate crops to meet domestic demand.
Also, in a recent meeting in Tehran between Brazil’s Minister of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade Armando Monteiro and Mohsen Jalalpour, the head of Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture, the two sides discussed the implementation of the program in the South American country.
“Iran and Brazil have common grounds for cooperation in the ‘Beyond Border Farming’ program, particularly for the production of grains and oilseeds for populous countries of the region,” said the ICCIMA chief.
Monteiro announced that Brazil will implement Iran’s agricultural outsourcing program in a few months’ time.
Cultivable land lease agreements have become an increasingly common phenomenon between capital-rich countries of the global North and countries with underutilized land in the global South as a way for the former to protect their food supplies in a world where volatile food prices pose a risk to national food security programs.
Some Middle Eastern states, rich in oil but facing water scarcity, have played an active role in securing land lease agreements.
Earlier, Mohamamd Reza Shafei, CEO of Jahad-e Esteghlal Institute affiliated to the Ministry of Agricultural Jihad, had said that the ministry plans to reduce the country’s dependence on food imports by renting cultivable land in Kazakhstan, Ghana and Ukraine for 12-15 years.
The official referred to “lowering and stabilizing food prices, increasing water efficiency and crop yield, boosting productivity and expanding mechanized agriculture” as the ministry’s main strategy to ensure food security in the country.
Last Iranian year (ended March 20, 2015), Iran posted a $5.5 billion deficit in the trade of agricultural goods. The figure is expected to improve this year, but even the most optimistic forecasts put the deficit to no less than $3 billion.
 
Intro: "Beyond Border Farming" is a government-led program aimed at reducing water consumption and ensuring food security by leasing arable land in other countries for growing oilseeds and grains

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