Roughly one-third of Iran's total surface area is suited for farmland, but because of poor soil and lack of adequate water distribution in many areas, most of it is not under cultivation. Only 12% of the total land area is under cultivation (arable land, orchards and vineyards) but less than one-third of the cultivated area is irrigated; the rest is devoted to dry farming. Some 92 percent of agro products depend on water. The western and northwestern portions of the country have the most fertile soils. Iran's food security index stands at around 96 percent.
35% of the total land area is used for grazing and small fodder production. Most of the grazing is done on mostly semi-dry rangeland in mountain areas and on areas surrounding the large deserts ("Dasht's") of Central Iran.
The wide range of temperature fluctuation in different parts of the country and the multiplicity of climatic zones make it possible to cultivate a diverse variety of crops, including cereals (wheat, barley, rice, and maize (corn)), fruits (dates, figs, pomegranates, melons, and grapes), vegetables, cotton, sugar beets, sugarcane and pistachios (World's largest producer with 40% of the world's output in 2005), nuts, olives, spices e.g. saffron (World's largest producer with 81% of the world's total output), raisin(world's third largest producer & second largest exporter), tea, tobacco, Berberis(world's largest producer) and medicinal herbs. More than 2,000 plant species are grown in Iran; only 100 of which are being used in pharmaceutical industries. The land covered by Iran's natural flora is four times that of Europe.