Some factors affecting agricultural production and productivity in Iraq including selected climate variables and crops
In this study of factors affecting Iraqi agricultural production and productivity, it has been found essential to deal both with socioeconomic and technical factors on the one hand and environmental conditons on the other. The ultimate objective of this study is to assess the impact of selected climatic factors on the production and productivity of some principal crops. Such assessment, however, cannot be achieved in isolation from the influence of the socio-economic and technical factors. Considerable variability over time of the latter factors, caused by specific institutional changes such as the land reform of 1958, resulted in changes in agricultural conditions as a whole. Therefore, in Chapters Two to Nine are examined the national and regional conditions of Iraqi agriculture during the 1950-1975 period, i.e. planning and investment, land utilization, land tenure system and land reform, agricultural cooperatives and other organizations, new input factors including farm machinery and, finally, water resources and irrigation methods. The inescapable conclusion of this section of the study is that there were no significant medium or long-term improvement trends in the yields of principal crops despite varying but considerable additional inputs and planning attention. Moreover, the controls exerted by climate and weather appear crucial factors in both the irrigated and rainfed area. In Chapters Ten and Eleven we therefore turn to a direct examination of climatic and weather factors. In Chapters Twelve and Thirteen a study is made of the relationship between selected weather variables, i.e. rainfall, temperature and relative humidity, and wheat and barley yield. These two crops were chosen because of their importance to Iraqi agriculture as a whole, and in particular to the rainfed area of northern Iraq where environmental modifications by man are least strong. The first point appearing from this analysis shows that yields of these two crops are significantly affected by climatic and weather factors during specific periods within the growing season. The significance of statistical correlations between yields and certain critical climatic factors appear sufficiently valid for crop forecasting with a certain degree of accuracy. As a by-product of this analysis, it appears that there was a significant dislocation period following the implementation of land reform measures. In conclusion, it is clear that agricultural production and productivity must be dealt with in the context of a whole set of factors, socio-economic, technical and environmental, if significant developments in agriculture and rural welfare are to be achieved.