Agricultural Labor and Technological Change in Iraq

  • K. A. Mahdi


Iraq’s economic and social history has seen cycles of tribalization and settlement (Haidar 1942) caused by instability of cultivation in the irrigated Meso-potamian plain and in rainfed areas. In the 200 years following the mid-17th century, nomadic and semi-nomadic pastoralism prevailed, and in the center and south, permanent cultivation was limited to small areas around a handful of towns. Under the Ottoman system, cultivation and settlement were more widespread in the rainfed foothills and upland plains, especially along main transport routes east of the Tigris which had government protection. In some mountain valleys farther north and east, agricultural settlements were protected by autonomous Kurdish principalities which survived until about the mid-19th century. Other mountain areas were inhabited by semi-nomadic tribes, some of whom only settled during the 1920s and 1930s (Khisbak 1972). Crop production and sedentary agriculture began to expand and the population grew rapidly from about the 1860s.


Mountain Valley Urban Employment Agricultural Employment Rainfed Area Compulsory Military Service 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Al-Ani, K.A.M. 1977. (Modern Iraq Encyclopedia.) In Arabic. Baghdad.Google Scholar
  2. Al-Deywachi, Abi S. et al. 1979. (The Economic Future of Villages in the Vicinity of the City of Mosul: A Field Study of the Village of Al-Fadhiliyya.) In Arabic. Tanmiyat Al-Rafidain 1: 17–33.Google Scholar
  3. Al-Deywachi, Abi S. et al. 1981. (Economic and Social Conditions in Rural Iraq: A Field Study of Mahallabiyya Nahiya.) In Arabic. Tanmiyat Al-Rafidain 5: 73–94.Google Scholar
  4. Al-Jabiri, K.F. 1981. Stability and Social Change in Yezidi Society. PhD thesis, University of Oxford.Google Scholar
  5. Al-Jeborey, Diham A.M. 1981. Agrarian Reform with Special Reference to Ishan, a Village in the Middle Euphrates Region of Iraq. PhD thesis, University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne.Google Scholar
  6. Al-Najafi, Salem T. 1979. (The Economics of Rainfed Agricultural Production in Iraq.) In Arabic. Tanmiyat Al-Rafidain 1: 5–15.Google Scholar
  7. Al-Qaddu, Badie J. 1986. (The Condition of Rural Women and its Effect on their Economic Decision-Making, A Field Study.) In Arabic. Tanmiyat Al-Rafidain 17: 145–164.Google Scholar
  8. Al-Rawi, H. and Al-Khaffaf, A. 1971. (Views on Agricultural Mechanization.) In Arabic. Najaf, Iraq: Al Qadha Press.Google Scholar
  9. AOAD (Arab Organization for Agricultural Development). 1982. (A Study of Mechanization of Harvesting Low Crops in the Iraqi Republic — First Stage.) In Arabic. Khartoum: AOAD.Google Scholar
  10. AOAD (Arab Organization for Agricultural Development). 1983a. (Development of Production and Marketing of Animal Products in the Rangelands of the Iraqi Republic.) In Arabic. Khartoum: AOAD.Google Scholar
  11. AOAD (Arab Organization for Agricultural Development). 1983b. (Arab Agricultural Policies. Vol. XI. Agricultural Policies in the Iraqi Republic.) In Arabic. Khartoum: AOAD.Google Scholar
  12. AOAD (Arab Organization for Agricultural Development). 1984. (A Study of Technical and Economic Feasibility of Cultivating Grain Crops and Grazing Shrubs in Marginal Lands in the Iraqi Republic.) In Arabic. Khartoum: AOAD.Google Scholar
  13. Bergmann, Theodor. 1984. Mechanisation and Agricultural Development, 1. General Report. Gottingen: Edition Herodot.Google Scholar
  14. Birks, J.S. 1986. The Demographic Challenge in the Arab Gulf. Arab Affairs 1 (1): 72–86.Google Scholar
  15. CSO (Central Statistical Organization). 1949a–86a. Annual Abstracts of Statistics. Baghdad: CSO.Google Scholar
  16. CSO (Central Statistical Organization). 1973b. (Results of 1971 Census of Agriculture, Parts 1 and 2.) In Arabic. Baghdad: CSO.Google Scholar
  17. CSO (Central Statistical Organization). 1976b. (Survey Results of Vital Events in Iraq, 1974–75.) In Arabic. Baghdad: CSO.Google Scholar
  18. CSO (Central Statistical Organization). 1978b. (Results of the General Population Census of 1977). In Arabic. Baghdad: CSO.Google Scholar
  19. Clawson, Marion, Landsberg, Hans H., and Alexander, Lyle T. 1971. The Agricultural Potential of the Middle East. New York: Elsevier.Google Scholar
  20. El-Solh, Camillia Fawzi. 1985. Migration and the Selectivity of Change: Egyptian Peasant Women in Iraq. Peuples Mediterraneens 31–32: 243–258.Google Scholar
  21. Haidar, Salih. 1942. Land Problems of Iraq. PhD thesis, University of London.Google Scholar
  22. Hasan, M.S. 1965. (The Economic Development of Iraq 1864–1958.) In Arabic. Vol. 1. Sidon: Al-Maktaba Al-Asriya.Google Scholar
  23. Ibrahim, I. 1979. (The Cooperative Movement.) In Arabic. Talk given at the Eighth Agricultural Conference, Al-Jumhouriyya, Iraq. Baghdad Daily, 27 December 1979, page 3.Google Scholar
  24. Jaubert, Ronald. 1985. Sedentary Farming in the Dry Areas of Syria: Problems of Development and the Role of Agricultural Research. Beirut: Dirasat Arabiyya 21 (9): 42–69.Google Scholar
  25. Khalaf, S.H. 1984. Social Change and Rural Development in a North Iraqi Village: A Study of the Role of the Government and Popular Organisations, 1958–1981. PhD thesis, University of Keele.Google Scholar
  26. Khammo, Awshalim L. 1977. The Role of Mechanisation in the Development of Agriculture in Iraq. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.Google Scholar
  27. Khisbak, Shakir. 1972. (The Kurds.) In Arabic. Baghdad: Shafiq Press.Google Scholar
  28. Lipton, Michael. 1982. Rural Development and the Retention of the Rural Population in the Countryside of Developing Countries. Canadian Journal of Development Studies (1): 11–37.Google Scholar
  29. Mahdee, K.A. 1982. Agriculture and Agrarian Reform in Iraq with Special Reference to the Period 1952–1976: A Study of Aspects of a Rentier State and of its Impact on the Economy. PhD thesis, University of Birmingham.Google Scholar
  30. Mahdi, F.A. 1977. (Economic Development and Planning in Iraq, 1960–1970.) In Arabic. Beirut: Dar al-Talia’a.Google Scholar
  31. MAAR (Ministry of Agriculture and Agrarian Reform). 1976. (Agriculture in Iraq 1963–1973: A Statistical Pocket Book.) In Arabic. Baghdad: MAAR.Google Scholar
  32. Muhammad, Khalil Ismael. 1977. (The Qadha of Khaniqin: A Study in Population Geography.) In Arabic. Baghdad: Al-Ani Press.Google Scholar
  33. Salman, Abed Ali. 1980. (Rural Society in Iraq.) In Arabic. Baghdad: Dar Al-Rashid Publishing.Google Scholar
  34. Singh, G.D. 1970. Study of Agricultural Administration and Important Agricultural Programmes in Babylon. UN Assistance in Development Planning and Execution, Baghdad. Mimeo.Google Scholar
  35. Singh, Ranjit, Mohammed, Z.H. and Ghanem, M. 1978. Agricultural Cooperative Societies Contribution in Promoting Adoption of Improved Farming Practices. Mesopotamia Journal of Agriculture 13: 85–20.Google Scholar
  36. Springborg, Robert. 1986. Infitah, Agrarian Transformation and Elite Consolidation in Contemporary Iraq. Middle East Journal 40 (1).Google Scholar
  37. Thalen, D.C.P. 1977. Contribution to the Discussion of Experience in the Middle East. Paper presented at a Royal Society meeting, 17–18 March 1976. in Resource Development in Semi-Arid Lands. London: Royal Society.Google Scholar
  38. Warriner, Doreen. 1948. Land and Poverty in the Middle East. London: RITA.Google Scholar
  39. Warriner, Doreen. 1957. Land Reform and Development in the Middle East. London: RITA.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© ICARDA 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. A. Mahdi
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EconomicsYarmouk UniversityIrbidIraq

Personalised recommendations