Domestic Economy

President Binds Security, Development to Modern Farming

President Binds Security, Development to Modern Farming
President Binds Security, Development to Modern Farming

President Hassan Rouhani said on Sunday that Iran's agriculture needs to be mechanized so as to increase productivity.

"Traditional agriculture is no longer able to compete in the world of competitive economy," President Rouhani said in an address to a national gathering on agriculture held in the capital Tehran.

He said that "agriculture and industry" must go hand in hand to improve production efficiency, adding, that industrial methods will help agriculture to reduce the inefficiencies of traditional methods.

"Agriculture should make use of industrial innovations, otherwise it won't be a profitable business," Rouhani said, noting that farmers should have a share in brand-making and export of their products.

Mechanization is a major driving force behind urbanization in industrial economies. Many countries worldwide are now turning to mechanized agriculture because they believe it leads to greater efficiency, more production and improved quality of farm products.

For instance, China announced last week that it would push ahead with agricultural modernization next year in order to spur economic growth, adjust the economic structure and improve people's livelihood, Xinhua reported.

China's investment in rural regions topped $163 billion (one trillion yuan) in 2011. Authorities have vowed to increase the investment next year, no matter how tight the government budget is.

The Iranian government has so far implemented different schemes as part of its broader strategy to encourage mechanized agriculture. As one of its major plans, Bank Keshavarzi has so far financed two mechanization projects in the agriculture sector.

The first project started in 2013 and was completed in mid-2014. It cost 7,500 billion rials (around $230 million at market exchange rate). The second project started in August 2014, to which the bank has so far contributed 1,890 billion rials.

Calling for a reform of what he described as "distribution patterns of agricultural products", Rouhani said: "Goods should directly reach consumers."

>>> Source of Security, Development

President Rouhani said his administration views the agriculture sector as a major source of national security and economic development.

"There are people who tend to think that national strength can be determined by range of ballistic missiles. That is true to some extent.  But what exactly determines national power are industries, services, agriculture and food security," Rouhani said.

"A country can claim to be powerful when it has become self-sufficient in producing certain products," he remarked.  

He said that barriers against the exports of agriculture products must be removed, calling for the Iranian agro products to be introduced to the region and beyond.

>>>Need for Gov't Support

Also during the event, Agriculture Minister Mahmoud Hojati made a speech saying that agriculture as a sector that guarantee's food security in the country needs to be supported by the government.

"We are trying to have a more active presence in the international market as we hope to tackle food shortage in our country by increasing productivity," Hojati said.

"Over 468, 000 tons of dairy products have been exported from Iran so far this year, recording an increase of about 100,000 tons compared with last year," Hojati said, adding that Iran has also exported 37,000 tons of poultry products this year.

The national gathering on agriculture was held Sunday and was also attended by 330 wheat-producing farmers.

In November, Business Monitor International reported that investment policies made by the Rouhani administration will improve agro-infrastructure, such as improvement of irrigation systems, and help Iran produce better quality grains.

The report predicted that Iran’s livestock and dairy sectors in the short and medium term will improve.

It also forecast that grain production in 2014-2015 will record mixed results, with wheat production to be expected to decline and corn and barley output to grow.