Food security in Iraq: results from quantitative and qualitative surveys
- 486 Downloads
Iraq’s food security has been profoundly affected by its oil-based economy, over three decades of conflict and its politics that have been shaped by authoritarian rentierism. The article outlines the political economy of food security in Iraq and how it has been shaped historically. It identifies various conditioning factors such as oil, conflict, environment, agricultural development strategies and institutional setups, such as the Public Distribution System (PDS), the world’s largest public food program. It then disentangles these factors in an analysis of data from Gallup, Iraq Body Count and various international organizations to give an appreciation of the Iraqi food security situation since the end of the Saddam regime. Finally, it takes a look at views of Iraqi experts on current food security issues in Iraq, using the results of an online survey that was conducted from May–October 2015 among 152 Iraqi experts from academia, ministries and NGOs. Iraqis overwhelmingly identify political instability and bad governance as major challenges to food security; it is unlikely that mere technocratic policy prescriptions can improve food security in the absence of political stability and improved governance.
KeywordsFood security Agriculture Iraq Middle East Authoritarianism Isis
A Marie Curie grant of the European Commission (RUDEFOPOS-IRAQ, no. 618773) provided support for this research. I am grateful to Nathan Hodson and Hadi Jaafar for discussions on data collection and analysis.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
A Marie Curie grant of the European Commission (RUDEFOPOS-IRAQ, no. 618773) provided support for this research. The grant making institution was not involved in the conduct of the research. The author declares that there is no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. An ethical review committee of the grant making European Commission went through the research design and ensured its compliance with ethical standards of human subjects research. An Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval of Princeton University was obtained for archival research on Iraqi food security.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
- Action Contre la Faim (ACF), & FAO. (2014). Iraq: Rapid assessment of agricultural livelihoods. Erbil: Tilkaif District – Ninewah Province.Google Scholar
- Ahmad, M. (2002). Agricultural Policy Issues and Challenges in Iraq: Short- and Medium-term Options. In K. A. Mahdi (Ed.), Iraq's Economic Predicament (pp. 169–199, Exeter Islamic Studies Series). Reading: Ithaca Press.Google Scholar
- Al Khouri, R. (2009). Market assessment for voucher program options. Erbil: Unpublished background report for WFP.Google Scholar
- Al-Ali, Z. (2014). The struggle for Iraq's future: How corruption, incompetence and sectarianism have undermined democracy. In New haven. London: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
- Al-Haboby, A., Breisinger, C., Debowicz, D., El-Hakim, A. H., Ferguson, J., & Telleria, R., et al. (2014). Agriculture for Development in Iraq? Estimating the Impacts of Achieving the Agricultural Targets of the National Development Plan 2013–2017 on Economic Growth, Incomes, and Gender Equality. IFPRI Discussion Paper (Vol. 01349, May). Washington D. C.: International Food Policy Reserach Center (IFPRI).Google Scholar
- Amendola, N., & Vecchi, G. (2010a). Constructing a welfare indicator for poverty analysis in Iraq. World Bank: Washington D. C.Google Scholar
- Amendola, N., & Vecchi, G. (2010b). Setting a poverty line for Iraq. World Bank: Washington D. C.Google Scholar
- Amendola, N., Razzaz, S., Sorrentino, M., & Vecchi, G. (2010). The impact of the public distribution system on living standards - some microsimulations. World Bank: Washington D. C.Google Scholar
- Baath Party Regional Command (1994–96). Various correspondence: 027–2–4-0010, 041–2–2-0001, 01_3439_0001_0000, 01_3730_ 0003_0452. Boxfiles Dataset from the Ba’th Regional Command Collection 1968–2003: Hoover Institution at Stanford University.Google Scholar
- BP. (2015). Statistical Review of World Energy, 2015 http://www.bp.com/en/global/corporate/about-bp/energy-economics/statistical-review-of-world-energy/statistical-review-downloads.html. Accessed 9 Oct 2015.
- Chulov, M. (2009). Iraq: Water, Water Nowhere. World Policy Journal(Winter 2009/ 2010), 33–40.Google Scholar
- Dodge, T. (2013). Iraq : from war to a new authoritarianism (Adelphi series). In London. New York: Routledge for the International Institute for Strategic Studies.Google Scholar
- FAO, WFP, & Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW) (2015a). Rapid food security assessment for Anbar. Erbil.Google Scholar
- FAO, WFP, & REACH (2015b). Rapid food security assessment. The Kurdistan Region of Iraq. Erbil.Google Scholar
- FAO, WFP, & Relief International (2015c). Rapid food security assessment in Baghdad governorate. Erbil.Google Scholar
- FAO, WFP, & Relief International (2015d). Rapid food security assessment in Diyala governorate. Erbil.Google Scholar
- FAO, WFP, & Relief International (2015e). Rapid food security assessment in Kirkuk governorate. Erbil.Google Scholar
- FAO, & Crescent, I. B. (2014). Rapid assessment for cash work appropriateness. Conflict affected IDPs and host communities in Duhok and Ninewa governorates. Erbil: Iraq.Google Scholar
- Foreign Policy Magazine, & The Fund for Peace. (2015). The Fragile States Index, 2015 http://fsi.fundforpeace.org/rankings-2015. Accessed 5 Feb 2016.
- Fricker, R. D. J. (2008). Sampling Methods for Web and E-mail Surveys. In N. G. Fielding, R. M. Lee, & G. Blank (Eds.), The SAGE Handbook of Online Research Methods (pp. 195–216). Los Angeles; London; New Dheli; Singapore: SAGE.Google Scholar
- Gallup. (2016). Gallup world poll. Iraq data, 2008–2015 http://www.gallup.com/services/170945/world-poll.aspx. Accessed 4 Feb 2016.
- Gazdar, H., & Hussain, A. (2002). Crisis and response: A study of the impact of economic sanctions in Iraq. In K. A. Mahdi (Ed.), Iraq’s economic predicament (pp. 31–84). Reading: Exeter Islamic Studies Series, Ithaca Press.Google Scholar
- Gibson, G. R., Campbell, J. B., & Wynne, R. H. (2012). Three Decades of War and Food Insecurity in Iraq. Photogrammetric Engineering & Remote Sensing, 78(8), 885–895, doi:10.14358/PERS.78.8.895.Google Scholar
- Gibson, G. R., Taylor, N. L., Lamo, N. C., & Lackey, J. K. (2016). Effects of Recent Instability on Cultivated Area Along the Euphrates River in Iraq. The Professional Geographer, 1–14, doi: 10.1080/00330124.2016.1194216.
- Gordon, J. (2010). Invisible war : The United States and the Iraq sanctions. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
- Guiu, R., & Siddiqui, N. (2015). In it for the long haul: A new response for IDPs in the Kurdistan region of Iraq. Middle East Research Institute (MERI): Erbil.Google Scholar
- Harrigan, J. (2014). The political economy of Arab food sovereignty. In Basingstoke. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
- IFPRI, Welthungerhilfe, & Concern Worldwide. (2015). Global Hunger Index: Iraq. http://ghi.ifpri.org/countries/IRQ/. Accessed 6 Nov 2015.
- ILO, Central Statistical Office (CSO) of Iraq, & Kurdistan Regional Statistics Office (KRSO). (2013). Iraq knowledge network survey (IKN) -2011. Geneva.Google Scholar
- IMF (2015a). World economic outlook dataset, October 2015. http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/weo/2015/02/weodata/index.aspx. Accessed 18 Dec 2015.Google Scholar
- IMF (2015b). World economic outlook dataset, October 2015. https://http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/weo/2015/02/weodata/index.aspx. Accessed 6 Nov 2015.Google Scholar
- International Organization for Migration (IOM) (2015). Iraq Mission. Displacement Tracking Matrix. http://iomiraq.net/dtm-page. Accessed 7 Oct 2015.
- International Trade Center. (2016). Trade Map Statistics. http://www.trademap.org. Accessed 5 Feb 2016.
- Iraq Body Count (2016). Iraq Body Count. https://http://www.iraqbodycount.org/. Accessed 4 Feb 2016.Google Scholar
- Johnston, L. G., & Sabin, K. (2010). Sampling hard-to-reach populations with respondent driven sampling. Methodological Innovations Online, 5(2), 38–48.Google Scholar
- Lucani, P., & Saade, M. (2012). Iraq: Agriculture sector note. FAO Investment Center-Country Highlights. Rome, Washington D. C.: FAO, World Bank.Google Scholar
- Marr, P. (2012). The modern history of Iraq. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.Google Scholar
- Ministry of Planning, I., Central Statistical Office (CSO), I., Kurdistan Regional Statistics Office (KRSO), & Bank, W. (2012). Al mash al ijtima'i-al iqtisadi li-l-'usar al 'iraqiyya fi al 'iraq al thani (IHSES II) [second socio-economic survey about Iraqi families in Iraq, IHSES-II]. Baghdad.Google Scholar
- OPEC. (2016). Monthly oil market report. Vienna: Feburary http://www.opec.org/opec_web/en/publications/338.htm. Accessed 7 Mar 2016.Google Scholar
- Overington, C. (2007). Kickback: Inside the Australian wheat board scandal. Crows Nest, N.S.W: Allen & Unwin.Google Scholar
- Parker, C., & Moore, P. W. (2007). The war economy of Iraq. Middle East Report, 243, 6–15.Google Scholar
- REACH. (2014). Assessment of area of origin of internally displaced persons in northern Iraq. Erbil: Pilot Assessment Report.Google Scholar
- REACH (2015). Multi-cluster needs assessment of IDPs residing in host communities: Iraq food security. Erbil.Google Scholar
- Republic of Iraq (2009). National Strategy for Poverty Reduction. High Committee for Poverty Reduction Policies (Ed.). Baghdad: Ministry of Planning and Development Cooperation; Ministry of Planning Kurdistan Region Government (KRG).Google Scholar
- Republic of Iraq. (2010). National Development Plan 2010–2014. Baghdad: Ministry of Planning.Google Scholar
- Republic of Iraq. (2013). National Development Plan 2013–2017. Baghdad: Ministry of Planning.Google Scholar
- Sassoon, J. (2012). Saddam Hussein's Ba'th party : Inside an authoritarian regime. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Schnepf, R. (2004). Iraq agriculture and food supply: Background and issues. Congressional Research Service Report. Washington D. C.Google Scholar
- Schweitzer, M. (2013a). The destruction of Iraq’s intellectuals. Al Jazeera, 1 October. http://www.aljazeera.com/humanrights/2013/10/destruction-iraqs-intellectuals-2013101114937748151.html. Accessed 3 Mar 2017.
- Schweitzer, M. (2013b). Iraq ten years on: Ivory tower under siege. Le Monde Diplomatique, 5 March. http://mondediplo.com/outsidein/iraq-ten-years-on-ivory-tower-under-siege. Accessed 3 Mar 2017.
- Telleria, R., El-Hakim, A. H., Aden-Aw Hassan, Dhehibi, B., Hatem, S., & Rida, F. (2012). Agricultural Policies and Institutions in Iraq- A Historical Perspective. Iraq Salinity Project (Vol. Technical Report 9): ICARDA.Google Scholar
- Transparency International. (2015). Corruption perception index (CPI) 2015. Berlin.Google Scholar
- UNHCR. (2016). Syria Regional Refugee Response. http://data.unhcr.org/syrianrefugees/regional.php. Accessed 26 June 2016.
- UNICEF, & Central Statistical Organizations, I. (1997). Iraq: Multiple indicator cluster survey 1996. Paris.Google Scholar
- UNICEF, Central Statistical Organization (CSO), Kurdistan Regional Statistics Office (KRSO), & Iraq, Ministry of Health of Iraq (2012). Iraq: Multiple indicator cluster survey 2011. Paris.Google Scholar
- UNICEF, Council of Minister of Republic of Iraq, Planning Commission of Republic of Iraq, & The Central Statistical Organization of Republic of Iraq (2001). Iraq: Multiple indicator cluster survey 2000. Paris.Google Scholar
- UNOCHA, (United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) (2015). Iraq. Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) 2015. Erbil; Baghdad.Google Scholar
- US Congress. (2004). Review Iraqi agriculture : From oil for food to the future of Iraqi production, agriculture and trade. House of representatives, hearing before the committee on agriculture, 16 June 2004. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
- US Government (2013). Learning from Iraq. A Final Report from the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction. Wahsington D. C.Google Scholar
- USAID (2011). Iraq Input Productivity Gap and Agricultural Competitiveness. Agricultural Policy Dialogue Series (Vol. 6). Washington D. C.: USAID.Google Scholar
- Voss, K. A., Famiglietti, J. S., Lo, M., de Linage, C., Rodell, M., & Swenson, S. C. (2013). Groundwater depletion in the Middle East from GRACE with implications for transboundary water management in the Tigris-Euphrates-western Iran region. Water Resources Research, 49(2), 904–914. doi: 10.1002/wrcr.20078.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Weiss, M., & Hassan, H. (2015). ISIS. Inside the Army of terror. New York: Regan Arts.Google Scholar
- WFP (2014). Social Protection Case Study: WFP in Iraq. Unpublished report. Erbil: WFP.Google Scholar
- WFP, Central Organization for Statistics & Information Technology (COSIT) of Iraq, Ministry of Planning and Development Cooperation of Iraq, Kurdistan Region Statistics Office (KRSO) of Iraq, & Nutrition Research Institute, Ministry of Health of Iraq. (2008). Comprehensive food security and vulnerability analysis in Iraq. Rome: WFP.Google Scholar
- Woertz, E. (2013). Oil for Food. The Global Food Crisis and the Middle East. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- World Bank (2005). Considering the future of the public distribution system. Executive Summary, Economicand Social Development Unit, Middle East Department. Washington D. C. http://siteresources.worldbank.org/IRFFI/Resources/ExecutiveSummary-PDSReportJune2805.doc. Accessed 3 Mar 2017.
- World Bank (2013). Poverty estimates and trends in Iraq: 2007–2012. Washington D. C.Google Scholar
- World Bank, & International Finance Corporation (IFC). (2016). Ease of Doing Business Index, 2016 http://www.doingbusiness.org/data/exploreeconomies/iraq/. Accessed 5 Feb 2016.
- World Bank, Central Organization for Statistics and Information Technology (COSIT) of Iraq, & Kurdistan Regional Statistics Office (KRSO) (2008). Iraq household socio-economic survey - IHSES 2007. Washington D. C.Google Scholar
- World Bank, Central Organization for Statistics and Information Technology (COSIT) of Iraq, & Kurdistan Regional Statistics Office (KRSO) (2013). Iraq household socio-economic survey 2012–13. Washington D. C.Google Scholar
- World Bank, Republic of Iraq, & Permanent Technical Committtee for Poverty Reduction Policies (2011). Confronting poverty in Iraq. Main Findings.Google Scholar
- Zurayk, R. (2011). Food, farming and freedom. Sowing the Arab spring. Charlottesville, Virginia: Just World Books.Google Scholar