Iraqi horticulture sector offers opportunities for Dutch investment

The horticulture sector in Iraq has attracted the interest of Dutch companies in recent years. While the Iraqi horticulture sector as a whole faces a number of challenges, there are several recent developments and investments ongoing.

Desk Study on the Horticulture Sector in Iraq and  the Kurdistan Region of Iraq

There is a strong alignment between the horticulture sector's needs and the expertise and product offerings of the Netherlands. Within the Iraqi seed and potato sectors there are already strong Dutch business interests. For horticulture production and processing there is much potential.

Horticulture sector

The Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Erbil identified the need for a report to inform Dutch agribusiness and investors on the opportunities and challenges in entering the horticultural sector in Iraq. Snoxell Agribusiness Consulting was commissioned for this report, provides a concise overview of the Iraqi horticultural sector and recommendations for prospective investors.

The Iraqi horticulture sector is underdeveloped relative to countries with a similar GDP/capita. Geopolitical and security challenges over the past decades are in large part responsible for this. Iraq is a middle income country, with a large population and has significant demand for horticultural products. The security situation at the time of writing in early 2024 is stable, with economy developing and opportunities for investment emerging.

Desk Study

The report describes in detail the dynamics in the Iraqi horticultural market. Iraq imports many of its horticultural products from Iran and Turkey. The horticultural input supply market is moderated well developed, with a number of international companies operating. Horticultural postharvest value chains are underdeveloped. There is limited postharvest processing and packaging.

The business and regulatory/policy environment presents challenges to investors. The report recommends working with local partners to overcome these. The relative stability and investor openness of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq is discussed as part of a strategy for market entry. The seed, protected horticulture, specialised agriculture equipment, post-harvest machinery and systems and ornamental plant and flower markets are highlighted as opportunities. Direct investment in horticultural production, and the provision of expertise around protected horticulture and water use efficiency are also seen as areas of potential investor interest. The report concludes with recommendations for potential investors.