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Land reform and agricultural development in Iraq 1958 - 1978

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The objective of this thesis is to examine the impact of Land Reform upon agricultural development in Iraq from 1958 to 1978. An attempt is made to examine the ways in which land was expropriated from big landlords and the resultant distributive affects on agricultural production. The organisational procedures and methods by which land was distributed to the peasants are described and the effect of land reform on the living standards of the peasants who received land in this process is evaluated.
The study commences with a survey of the debate on land reform. The different arguments are critically examined in order to discover the possible socio-economic consequences of land reform on agricultural development.
Since agricultural production is greatly influenced by physical and climate factors, these tend to affect the policies designed for agricultural development. A detailed description of the natural environment of the country is included to show the limitations as well as the potential that exist for the expansion of agricultural production which may, in turn, influence the nature of land reform.
The central theme of the thesis, the implementation of land reform in Iraq is then discussed. After a historical description of the preland reform period, the objectives and provisions of the 1958 and 1970 land reforms are outlined and evaluated. These evaluations aim to identify the nature and content of each land reform, the achievements in relation to the objectives set and the method of their implementation through the creation of co-operatives and other forms of of production unit. The effectiveness of these reforms is then assessed in terms of both the change in the living standards of the peasants and the effects on agricultural output.
Land reforms have been incorporated into general agricultural policies within overall planning programmes.
The priority of agricultural development indicated in various plans and financial resources which have been allocated for reforms is then examined, to discover the importance assigned to land reform in the agricultural development plans. This examination helps to explain why land reform did not proceed at the projected rate of implementation.
This thesis concludes with a summary of the impact of land reform on political, social and agricultural conditions in Iraq. While the main political objective of undermining the power of the big landlords has been achieved, land reform has been less successful in improving the lot of the peasants which in turn has meant that agricultural production has not increased to the levels anticipated.


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