Iraq's Main Business Sectors

For a long time, the bulk of Iraq's manufacturing has been linked to the oil industry; with the major industries being the refining of petroleum and the manufacturing of fertilizer and other chemicals. The main exception is the construction industry- as of a decade ago, cement was the only non-hydrocarbon industrial product. Iraq's construction industry is one of the few that has profited from the country's war-torn past.

Despite its adequate water and land resources, Iraq imports more food than it produces. Under the UN's oil-for-food program, Iraq brought in large amounts of dairy, meat, grain and poultry. The country allowed a greater private role in agriculture when it abolished the farm collectivization initiative.

The oil-for-food program ended in 2003, and it cut farm production by supplying subsidized, imported food. 2003's military action did almost no damage to Iraq's agricultural system, actually, grain production was 22% higher that year. Long-term plans predict greater investment in farm machinery, as well as more variety in crops.

The limited induction of women into the work force, and the import of foreign workers has helped Iraq make up for its labor and agricultural issues made worse by the war. Throughout the past years, uncontrolled grazing, exploitation and fire laid waste to many of Iraq's forest areas. Despite it abundance of rivers, the fishing industry in Iraq has remained small, being based mostly on species found in the Gulf.

Other than hydrocarbons, the mining sector in Iraq has been limited to phosphates from Akashat and sulfur from Mosul. The sector was hindered by the Iran-Iraq war, sanctions, and economic collapse. Iraq is one of the world's most oil-rich countries, and it has the resources it needs to be energy-independent. However, oil pipelines have been sabotaged repeatedly, and problems at refineries have forced Iraq to import fuel, LP gas, and other products from its neighbors. Hydrocarbons account for more than 70% of Iraq's economy, and almost 95% of government revenue; diversification remains a challenge.

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