Agriculture plays an important and vital role in ensuring food and national security as its products are often considered strategic goods.
According to Sina Press, while the advancement of knowledge and the emergence of a new technology called the Internet of Things, has made a huge change in the agricultural industry in the world's leading countries, but Iran still has traditional agriculture and faces many long-standing problems.
Dr. Shahin Rafiee, the faculty member of the University of Tehran, College of Agriculture & Natural Resources told Sina Press: "Only the use of new technologies in farms does not lead to agricultural progress. The agriculture development of the country depends on its industrialization; If industry and agriculture are considered separately, agriculture will be destroyed because it always lags behind the competition with industry."
Rafiee has a Ph.D. in mechanics and agricultural machinery. He stated: "It becomes an industrial agricultural product when it has productivity and economic justification. This can only be achieved through industrial agriculture. Unfortunately, our agriculture is not industrialized yet."
He added: "One of the steps of industrialization is to connect production to sales so that the producer can have more economic productivity. Right now, our farmers are selling their agricultural products at a very low-profit rate, he told Sina Press. They make the main effort, but the intermediaries get the entire benefits as they buy these products at a very low price and sell them in the market at a very high price because Iranian agriculture has not become industrialized yet otherwise the farmer would not sell his product in advance."
"Also, our agricultural sector is still traditional in the field of animal husbandry" he said. For example, the city of Taleghan is not far from Tehran, but sheep farming is quite traditional in that area. If it was an industrial sector, farmers would turn milk into various dairy products instead of selling it raw and could sell it at high added value and make a real profit. This would allow them to expand their production levels as well.
He continued: "Nowadays, neglecting agriculture, animal husbandry, and sheep farming have dealt a fatal blow to this part of the society, and many shepherds and farmers have become unemployed in agriculturally prone areas. The youth have turned to crime and doing wrong after being unemployed. Who is responsible for these problems? Authorities who have developed non-agricultural industries in these areas."
Rafiee pointed out: Now it is possible to develop industrial agriculture in our country. The issue of industrial agriculture should be taken seriously in the government and parliament. Instead of building and opening factories in agricultural areas, the government should prioritize the development of the agricultural industry. If our agriculture becomes industrial, while creating food security, we can even have effective exports and employment. On the other hand, our agriculture will be modernized with industrialization. Modernization is more of a fantasy unless agriculture becomes industrial.
Interviewed by: Farzaneh Sedghi
Translated by: Mehdi Fallahi Panah