event 27 abr. 2023

Research Article // Food-energy-water nexus in Iran over the last two centuries: A food secure future?

By Farshad Amiraslani and Deirdre Dragovich. Agriculture in Iran is deeply-rooted in the country's history and it was a major income-generating sector up to the early twentieth century. However, this paper analyses the wide range of domestic and international factors that have shaped Iran's agricultural production and policies.

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The 60-year trend of the share of agriculture sector in national GDP (%).


Over the past two centuries, Iranian agricultural policy and practice have been developed dramatically, mostly in response to population growth, gradual improvements in technology and science, several revolutions, one major war and recent international sanctions. Until the mid-20th Century, Iran was an agrarian society, barely distinguishable from other countries in the region. It then shifted to an industrial society supported by oil, with agriculture lagging, but since then, major agricultural policy shifts have occurred. First, a series of inappropriate national laws regarding land tenure converted large holdings into small pieces of low-yielding lands. Then, the Islamic Revolution occurred in 1978, followed by a subsequent eight-year war with Iraq, which shook the country's economy and left many farms devastated and abandoned. At that point, the food supply chain and provision were in chaos. The Government prioritised food self-sufficiency by heavily subsidising farm inputs and investment into water management, power plants and food processing plants. By the mid-2000s, despite the pressures of rapid population growth and severe drought conditions, the country became largely self-sufficient in major food crops. Government subsidies rose to unsustainable levels, and a large amount of food was being wasted throughout the food chain. In response, the Government removed subsidies from the food and energy sectors and in 2010 provided financial support for those on low incomes. Recent geopolitical disruptors have contributed further to an unstable food-energy-water nexus.


June 2023


Energy Nexus


Amiraslani, F., & Dragovich, D. (2023). Food-energy-water nexus in Iran over the last two centuries: a food secure future?. Energy Nexus, 100189.


Food-energy-water nexus in Iran over the last two centuries: A food secure future?

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