UAE and Iran, 28 September – 9 October 2015
Economic sanctions have severely impacted Iran’s economy including its agricultural sector in terms of infrastructure, technology and access to markets. The most vulnerable in Iranian society have been the hardest hit and Iran’s smallholder farmers are no exception.
GIFT’s first Global Leaders programme in the Middle East included a field project in Iran which saw global executives from a dozen countries apply their leadership skills in an experiential context and produce a business plan to help agricultural communities take advantage of international expertise and the opportunities presented by the imminent lifting of sanctions.
At the invitation of local government including the Esfahan Mayor’s office and Chamber of Commerce, participants on the GLP travelled to Esfahan city and the nearby Semirom region which is famed for its apples, widely considered to be the best tasting in the Middle East. Working in close collaboration with the Semirom Farmers Union and the Esfahan Union of Agricultural Producers and Exporters the group proposed recommendations for improving the lot of the farmers and the creation of a new company which would create social as well as financial returns and improve livelihoods among Semirom’s apple farming communities.