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Sector overview

Agriculture is well rooted in the history of Kurdistan. The early signs of agriculture have been observed in the Kurdistan region, in the archaeological site of Charmo, which dates back to 7,500 BC. Today, this vital sector continues to play an important role in the life and economy of rural areas and the region as a whole. 

The Kurdistan Region has abundant potential for agricultural production due to its fertile soil, available water resources and favorable climate. This makes the region well suited for growing various crops, fruits and raising livestock. 

With the increase in the population of the Kurdistan Region and Iraq at a rate of about 1 million per year, the demand for food products has increased significantly, with current demand exceeding supply. With this and the low competition, the market has great potential and advantages for new investments.

The agricultural sector has been identified as a priority by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), with the goal of achieving food security and making agriculture and food a major component of the economy. Since 2006, the Board of Investment has licensed 39 agricultural projects with a capital of $1.15 billion.

Key facts and figures

Agricultural land

4,451,424 hectares

Arable land

1,696,816 hectares

Irrigated land

328,428 hectares


56,542 hectares


1,734,443 hectares


963,623 hectares

Rural Population

1,148,480 (18% of the population)

Workforce in Agriculture

 10% of the total workforce

Agricultural colleges


Agricultural research centers


Climate zone


Main Rivers

Tigris, Great Zab, Little Zab, Sirwan, and Khabur

Main Lakes

Dukan, Darbandikhan, and Duhok


Main agricultural products in the region include the following commodities:


Wheat, Barley, Rice, Corn, Sunflowers, Chickpeas, Sesame


Tomatoes, Potatoes, Cucumbers, Onions, Peppers, Eggplants, Legumes, Soybeans, Okra, Squash, Herbs


Pomegranates, Grapes, Apples, Figs, Olives, Peaches, Apricots, Watermelons, Melons


Cattle, Sheep, Goats, Chickens, Eggs, Honey

Reasons to invest in the Kurdistan Region’s Agricultural Sector

Many reasons make the region attractive for investment in agricultural and food processing projects, such as:

➔ A significant amount of arable land and water resources

➔ Diverse and substantial agricultural products; many types of crops and livestock

➔ Availability of skilled labor (farmers and agricultural college graduates) and competitive labor costs

➔ Access to the vast and low-competitive market of the country and the entire region

➔ More incentives for projects in less developed areas, in addition to all the incentives provided by the Investment Law.

Investment Opportunities in Agrifood

The following are lists of potential investment opportunities in the agrifood sector (agriculture and food processing), including opportunities in food processing and packaging, crop cultivation, livestock and others. They are identified based on the region's resources to develop the projects and the market needs for their products, most of which are offered in all governorates of the Kurdistan Region.

Food processing

Opportunities for the establishment of new food factories and facilities:

  • Sugar Production Factory

  • Tomato Paste and Ketchup Factory

  • Vegetable Oil Production Factory (From Olive, Sunflower, or Maize) 

  • Dairy Products (Milk, Cheese, Yogurt and/or Ice Cream) Factories

  • Fruit Juice Factory (For Pomegranates, Grapes, Apples, and other Fruits)

  • Processing Facilities for Grain Products (Pasta, Noodles, and others)

  • Meat Processing and Packaging Factory

  • Honey Processing and Packaging Factory

  • Factories of Biscuits, Cakes, Chocolates, and Other Confectionery Items

  • Establishment of High Quality Storage and Packaging Facilities for Fruits and Vegetables, Especially for Export

Crop cultivation

Opportunities for the cultivation of several high value crops, including processing and packaging of their products:

  • Orchards of Olives, Almonds, Pistachios, and Nuts

  • Maize, Sunflower, and Cotton Fields

  • Modern Greenhouses for Vegetables, Flowers, and Herbs

Livestock breeding

Opportunities for the breeding of livestocks, including processing and storage of the products:

  • Cattle Farms for Milk or Beef Production

  • Poultry Farms for Chicken or Egg Production

  • Fish Farms using Modern Fishery Techniques


Other opportunities in the agriculture sector including (but not limited to):

  • Agrifood Industrial Zone

  • Animal Feed Manufacturing Facilities

  • Production of Certified Seeds

  • Creation of New Forests for Timber Production

  • Construction of Irrigation Systems