Livestock is an important national resource in Iran. More than half of the rural population depends at least in part on livestock for their livelihood. Livestock plays a key role in the lives of the rural poor, generating employment and often providing about 80 percent of their cash income. On average, 31.8 percent of the gross value of agricultural production attributed to livestock production, which provides the main source of income and an important component of the average diet. Production of poultry meat, eggs, milk and red meat has increased during the last decade.
Poultry production developed from a simple farm operation to a complex vertical operation of related industries and enterprises, including grain production for animal feeds, feed mills, and slaughterhouses and processing plants, food chain stores and wholesale enterprises. In the last four decades, large amounts of capital have been invested in this sector and poultry production becomes one of the most important economic activities in Iran. The poultry farming industry, which was one of the underdeveloped industries, has gained growth and is currently one of the principal meat production sectors. Investment and employment levels and the role of this sector in the production of protein requirements of the nation have attained high proportions in the national economy. The poultry industry, with nearly 2.3 million tons of output, is the largest in the Middle East, ranked eighth in Asia and 18th in the world.