This study addresses the problem of water-use efficiency in agriculture via the optimization of water use for and the external trade patterns of agricultural products in Iran. Towards this end, some major issues on agricultural water use and trade patterns are first discussed. Then, the underlying concepts and principles of agricultural water use and trade patterns are presented. Finally, a comparative analysis of virtual water trade among MENA countries is conducted. The findings indicate that cropping patterns and external trade of agricultural products in Iran are hardly consistent with the notion of comparative advantage and the country’s water resources. While some MENA countries are consciously adopting cropping and agricultural trade policies for enhancing water-use efficiency and increasing the economic value of irrigation water, cropping and agricultural trade patterns in Iran have not aimed at enhancing water-use efficiency in agriculture.
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