This brief can be cited as:
KAPITA. "Agricultural Technology in Iraq: A Brief of the Iraqi Agritech Potential and Challenges”. September 27, 2023. https://bit.ly/3QCHX2a
The term AgriTech combines "agricultural" with "technology." It advocates logical data-driven judgment and the use of technology to automate labor in lieu of conventional agricultural practices that rely on personal experience and skills. The term reflects the application of technology and technological innovation to raise the productivity and effectiveness of agricultural endeavors.
According to a report released by the World Government Summit, the next agricultural revolution, "Agriculture 4.0," will change the way farms are operated. Using moisture and temperature sensors, aerial images, GPS technology, robotics, and many other advanced infrastructures, farms will become more profitable, efficient, safe, and environmentally friendly.
Investment in AgriTech is gaining exponentially more attention from investors worldwide. In 2020, it totaled 5 billion USD in disclosed value, a figure doubling that obtained in 2019. This investment has been carried through into 2021, with an additional 747.9 million USD until mid-March, and it is expected to surpass $46,372.5 million by 2030 globally.
In this report, we explore the AgriTech scene in the MENA region. The UAE, for example, created The AgriTech Sector Development Team, to propose legislation, policies, and studies and implement plans to facilitate the adoption of technology-based food production in the UAE. There are over 35,000 operational farms, many of which use modern technologies to cultivate produce.
Saudi Arabia is another example of the correct implementation of AgriTech. The rise of AgriTech in Saudi Arabia is linked to the Saudi Vision 2030. The Saudi startup Red Sea Farms has researched, developed, and delivered technologies in cooling, solar, and AI-led monitoring, leading them to grow crops using salt water in the harsh climate of the country.
Iraq, however, ranks the lowest compared to other neighboring countries in the MENA region; it has an agriculture digital index of around 50 out of 100 compared to 85 in the UAE, 71 in Jordan, and 68 in Lebanon, according to The World Bank index measure of digital transformation in agriculture. The use of digital technology in the Iraqi agricultural sector is still in its inception and offers a great deal of untapped potential. Nonetheless, attempts have been made in recent years to adopt digital applications in precision agriculture, in addition to the implementation of sub-surface drip irrigation systems. In 2021, the Iraqi Directorate of Agricultural Extension and Training launched a mobile application to provide farmers with information on a variety of agriculture-related topics.
In this report, we explore a number of agriculture businesses and startups, such as Nakhla, Al Rafeel, Green Gold, ECO Life, Grow Green, ZAD, Al-Rafeel Mushroom, and others. Each of these takes a special approach toward agriculture in terms of the implementation of technology, applications, tools and equipment, systems, and processes to increase efficiency and productivity.
There are many challenges associated with agriculture in Iraq, such as water resources, lack of agricultural machinery and post-harvest systems, access to finance, urbanization, and more. We further explore these challenges and their impact on agriculture in Iraq.
This report highlights several key supporting programs and organizations. They foster and promote entrepreneurial skills, offer consultation on stabilization and economic growth, integrate innovation into local humanitarian contexts, support Iraqi youth in bringing their entrepreneurial ideas to life, and help entrepreneurs with established start-ups grow their businesses beyond the formation and validation phases.