The future for organic agriculture in Iran looks quite bright. At this point in time, there are 43,000 ha of certified organic agricultural land. A high growth rate experienced over the last few years suggests a fast and considerable development in this sector.
Due to different climatic conditions across the country, Iran can produce a variety of crops and become a regional hub and global resource to produce high-value organic produce, such as for pistachio, pomegranate, saffron, date, fig and medicinal plants.
Despite many advantages of organic agriculture, the results of several case studies show that the adoption rate of ‘modern’ organic practices is, with less than 1%, is still very low among Iranian farmers, compared with European countries. On the other hand, about 86 percent of farmers in Iran are smallholders who manage close to 40 percent of arable lands in Iran, and these small-scale farming systems may, at least part of it, be considered as non-certified organic agriculture, as these are managed according to ‘traditional’ and ecological farm practices
There is an increasing public concern about food safety, but unfortunately very few people, both at farm and consumer level really know certified organic farming. For farmers, the most important challenge of transition to organic agriculture is the management of plant nutrition and protection against pests, diseases and weeds during the first years of conversion.
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