From the early years of the 21st century, more precisely in 2005,
the concept of spatial planning was again raised in the literature of European
agricultural development planning, with modified and revised development hub
models, and was theoretically discussed among European planners.
This may be because a large number of policymakers thought that
under United States hegemony and WTO policy, they had to look for more support
from exploiters, along with an increase in agricultural subsidies and an
improved and efficient mix of relationships, resources and production factors.
Adopting a target-oriented and revised agricultural strategy,
therefore, rose again in the European planning circles.
Fortunately, the concept of agricultural spatial development,
meaning optimum integration of stakeholders, space and agricultural activity,
enjoys an old historical background in Iran, albeit forgotten.
Influenced and organized by state interventions, the economic
structure was designed in line with monetary policies, the specifications of
applied technology, human resources, practices and production factors during
the past 70 years.
The government interventionism approach toward agriculture has led
to develop agricultural hubs, including agro-joint stock companies,
agro-business companies, rural production cooperative societies, processing and
complementary factories, displacement streams of workforce and energy,
triggering harbors and many other infrastructural facilities.
From a historical point of view, such planning was influenced by the
Eisenhower government, and gradually shifted to the huge projects impressed by
Rostov’s development theory and Jean Monett’s fundamentalism.
Based on this pattern, originated from “pole theory” by Francois
Peru and other intellectuals of the 1960s, including Friedman, Myrdal, Hans and
Hirschman, believing that development does not occur totally, en masse, but
rather as a gradual procedure, in the initial stage, development occurs at the growth
poles and then disseminates.
By presenting the “center-perimeter” model, Friedman tried to
consider a combination of factors associated with “the gradual dissemination
effect” in the center, and an increasing trend of inequalities and
Referring to the “unbalanced growth theory,” Hirschman emphasized
the development of the whole through developed sections, asserting that
economic activity, including agriculture, is locally concentrated in a limited
area, leading to creating developed spots. Introducing the “leakage effect,” as
well as the “polarization effect,” he tried to analyze the pros and cons of
Like Hirschman, Myrdal paid attention to spatial implications in the
development process; however, despite him, Myrdal also believed in intensifying
the polarization process in southern countries, requiring governmental
interference for building an equilibrium.
Introducing a new concept, “growth poles,” Francois Peru, reaffirmed
Hirschman’s and Myrdal’s beliefs, asserting that development does not occur en
masse (entirely), rather, it initiates in the development poles, gradually
dispreads in the different poles, and finally impresses the whole economic
As one of the few theories of the 1960s, this theory was welcomed by
many developed and developing countries, and later was applied in the fourth
Five-Year Development Plan in Iran, and followed up in the fifth Five-Year
Development Plan, too.
As a result of applying this theory, six industrial hubs were
developed in Iran, including Tehran, Tabriz, Isfahan, Ahvaz, Arak and Qazvin.
The agriculture sector was simultaneously impressed by industrial development
and many agro-hubs were developed.
*Hossein Shirzad is deputy agricultural jihad minister and CEO
of the Central Organization for Rural Cooperatives (CORC).