Agriculture


Dust Storms sweep across Iraq as Govt Solutions Falter

By Wassim Bassem for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News. 

On Nov. 3, NASA published clear images taken by its satellites of the severe dust storm that hit Iraq recently. The climate changes sweeping Iraq are causing human casualties and economic damages. Hundreds of cases of suffocation were recorded.

The Ministry of Health announced Oct. 30 that there were more than 4,200 cases of suffocation in most governorates, including 528 in Karbala. During the dust storm, the Iraqi Civil Aviation Authority canceled its flights, and Iranian flights to Baghdad and Najaf airports were also canceled. Ninevah province recorded 1,108 cases of suffocation in the camps for internally displaced persons.

The storms also affected the course of the battles between the Iraqi forces and the Islamic State (IS). On Oct. 31, the Iraqi forces were forced to postpone the campaign aimed to retrieve the city of Qaim, west of Anbar, from IS because of the lack of visibility caused by the dust storms.

While dust storms are occurring in neighboring countries such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and even Iran, “Iraq is one of the most affected countries by the storm, at the level of its environment, individuals’ health and economy,” said Amer Habib of the Technical College Musayyib in Babil province and the director of a project on organic fertilizers in Babil.

“This is due to the fact that Iraq is a barren land where vegetation is scarce. Human activities have swept away orchards and agricultural lands, which also led to the decrease of the rivers’ water levels and the lack of rainfall, which resulted in the drying up of huge areas of agricultural spaces.”

In 2011, the World Meteorological Organization identified dust storms as a natural disaster. Several countries around the world have strengthened their defense strategies against this environmental threat with green belts of trees that are resistant to drought and harsh environments. The stakeholders, especially local governments in Iraq, have been following the same approach for years and have developed projects to help eliminate desertification.

Iraq buys U.S. Wheat

By John Lee.

Iraq has reportedly bought U.S. hard red winter wheat in a direct deal outside the tender process.

Sources told Reuters that the product will be supplied by Cargill (300,000 tonnes) and ADM (Archer Daniels Midland) (150,000 tonnes).

Separtely, private exporters reported to the U.S. Department of Agriculture export sales of 100,000 metric tons of hard red winter wheat for delivery to Iraq during the 2017/2018 marketing year (The marketing year for wheat began June 1.).

(Sources: Reuters, U.S. Department of Agriculture)

Iranian Official Urges Enhanced Economic Ties with Iraq

Chairman of Iran-Iraq Chamber of Commerce Yahya Ale-Ishaq has hailed the political ties between Tehran and Baghdad, saying the two sides’ economic ties should also be strengthened.

Speaking in a forum of Iranian and Iraqi traders, Al-e Eshaq said the economic relations between Tehran and Baghdad have not developed on par with the political and security ties.

The official called for removal of obstacles in the way of the two countries’ economic cooperation, especially in the fields of banking, transportation, and customs affairs.

He further noted that that Tehran and Baghdad eye boosting their annual trade exchange to $20 billion.

Iran and Iraq enjoy cordial political, security and cultural ties but due to some internal and regional problems including Daesh (also known as ISIS or ISIL) terrorism in Iraq, they have not been able to increase their trade volume.

Iran’s main exports to the neighboring country include agro products, foodstuff and fruits such as watermelon, tomato and cucumber, which account for 37% of the total exports.

Other Iranian exports to Iraq include canned food, tomato paste, chicken, egg, meat, construction materials (mainly rebar, tiles and ceramics), steel and evaporative cooler.

(Source: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)

Video: Iran “Reduces Water Supply” over Iraqi Kurd Vote

From Al Jazeera. Any opinions expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

While Iraq has taken measures against its semi-autonomous Kurdish region for last month’s secession vote, Kurdish farmers say they’re also being punished by neighbouring Iran.

They say Tehran has stemmed the flow of water to border towns.

Al Jazeera‘s Hoda Abdel-Hamid reports from Qaladze, near the Iraq-Iran border:

In Basra, Fighting Rising Temperatures With Trees

This article was originally published by Niqash. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

To fight climate change in Basra, where summer temperatures now regularly rise to over 50 degrees Centigrade, locals plan to plant 16 million trees. The volunteers are on course for 1 million in 2017.

In the southern Iraqi city of Basra, locals are taking matters into their own hands to fight climate change. “In recent years temperatures in Basra have exceeded 50 degrees Centigrade,” explains Alaa Hashim al-Badran, head of the union of agricultural engineers in Basra. “And that is dangerous.”

The ramifications of ongoing climate change mean that the city and its inhabitants may face even higher temperatures in the future. To try and ameliorate the impact, locals have started planting trees. They intend to have planted a million of them shortly, and 16 million in the next few years.

Al-Badran says the idea for a tree-planting campaign was first suggested in the middle of the year and has since progressed rapidly. There are a hundred volunteers and over 15,000 supporters online, he notes, and in the near future, there should be even more people involved.

Citing the example of successful tree planting in Gulf Arab countries, al-Badran and his colleagues believe this may be one of the only ways to prevent Basra from deadly over-heating.

 

 

“Over the next few years we plan to plant 16 million trees here,” he told NIQASH. “The first phase starts in September and goes until mid-November. Then we will start again in mid-February and carry on until mid-April next year. The first objective is to plant 1 million trees.”

Iraqi Farmers fight against Imported Goods, Corruption

By Adnan Abu Zeed for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News. 

The Tureibil crossing, or more commonly known as the Karameh border crossing, between Jordan and Iraq reopened in early September in tandem with the opening of another border crossing with Saudi Arabia. This means that more foreign goods are likely to flow into the Iraqi market, which already lacks national products, especially food and agricultural goods.

The prospects for increased imports, which is not good news for the local production industry in Iraq, prompted parliament’s Agriculture, Water and Marshlands Committee on Aug. 14 to accuse the Ministry of Agriculture of mismanagement and confusion in supporting these foreign goods, which caused the local market to become flooded with imported products.

Mohammed Mansouri, an expert on local livestock, warns against “a catastrophe in the sector of livestock and agriculture in Iraq,” urging the government to work “on achieving food security.”

However, the failure of agricultural projects in Iraq is not only the result of poor planning and management, but also a “corrupt agenda seeking to keep this sector lagging so as to continue relying on imports,” said Ali al-Badiri, a member of the Agriculture, Water and Marshlands Committee, in a media statement Aug. 24. “Impeding the cultivation of wheat crops is a conspiracy, as this cultivation has become a threat to the investments of the corrupted,” he said.

In the same vein, Suhaila Abbas, the head of the Agriculture Committee of the Babil Governorate Council, told Al-Monitor, “Linking food security to importation is not due to technical problems such as drought or the rudimentary irrigation and land treatments techniques, as these can be addressed through development plans. This is, however, due to political reasons. Many of Iraq’s neighbors have an interest in keeping Iraq unable to become self-sufficient in terms of food, so it continues importing food products.”

New Partnership to Revitalise Smallholder Agriculture

In an important step toward financing its first post-war agricultural investment project in Iraq, the UN’s International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) met with a high-level Iraqi delegation in Rome last week.

The project will target 20,000 rural households in the poorest southern governorates of Missan, Thi Qar, Qadissiyah and Muthana.

The delegation was welcomed by Khalida Bouzar (pictured), IFAD’s Director for the Near East, North Africa and Europe, along with her team from the regional Division.

Bouzar said:

The rationale for the current project stems from the fragility of Iraq and IFAD’s commitment to assist countries with fragile situations. IFAD has significant experience in areas in which the Government of Iraq needs assistance, such as agriculture and rural development.

“Investment in agricultural growth is not only important to growth in national income, but is also vital to growth in employment, food and nutrition security and reduction of poverty in Iraq.

“This will be an example of the stronger and more efficient collaboration that characterizes the renewed partnership between IFAD and Iraq’s government.

Iraqi Ambassador Ahmed A.H. Bamarni thanked IFAD for its promptness in creating the project, and said that he believed the project would directly support the Iraqi government’s reconstruction efforts following years of conflict.

Implemented by the Iraqi ministries of agriculture, water resources and environment, the new project will enhance resilience to climate change as well as improve the productivity and profitability of small-scale crop and livestock producers by providing access to finance, technologies and remunerative markets.

The meeting between IFAD and Iraqi officials follows an initial high-level meeting held in Jordan in October 2016 where participants developed the first strategic roadmap for investment in smallholder agriculture and rural development in Iraq.

It set the stage for identifying the priorities for IFAD’s engagement in Iraq, including the main strategic objectives, as well as the framework for the first ever IFAD investment in the country.

(Source: IFAD)

Cherkizovo Group Receives Permission to Export to Iraq

By John Lee.

PJSC Cherkizovo Group, the largest vertically integrated meat and feed producer in Russia, today announces that its Vasilyevskaya poultry production facility has received permission to export poultry products to Iraq.

The Vasilyevskaya poultry farm, which is Cherkizovo Group’s largest poultry production facility, was granted the right to export to Iraq. The permit was issued by the Iraqi Ministry of Agriculture in August 2017.

A key requirement for the export of poultry meat to Iraq is the observance of halal – a set of rules in the Islamic religious tradition that sets strict guidelines for the slaughter of animals.

The slaughter facilities at the Vasilyevskaya poultry farm comply with these rules, according to certification from the Halal International Centre for Standardisation and Certification of the Council of Muftis of Russia. The Group’s halal products are produced under the brands “Latifa” and “Dajajti” and are intended both for export as well as for meeting the domestic demand for these products.

The Vasilievskaya poultry farm is located in Bessonovsky district of Penza region. The enterprise was founded in 1978, and in 1998 it joined Cherkizovo Group. Today, it is the largest poultry factory in the Group and one of the highest capacity poultry producing facilities in Russia.

Obtaining the right to export products to Iraq is a significant step in the development of the Group’s export potential. Exports increasingly important for the Group in current market conditions. Iraq is one of the largest markets in the Middle East. The requirements for imported poultry meat are very strict. Cherkizovo Group products today meet the most stringent international requirements for biosafety. The Group has already received permits to export to Egypt, the UAE, Tanzania and the EU.

(Source: PJSC Cherkizovo Group)

Kurdish Farmers call out Foul Play by Importers

This article was originally published by Niqash. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

In Iraqi Kurdistan, poultry farmers are calling for tariffs on chicken products imported to the region. Otherwise, they say, the local industry won’t survive.

Poultry farmers in the northern region of Iraqi Kurdistan are pondering a strange problem. While a large quantity of Iraqi Kurdish poultry products is exported and sold in other parts of Iraq, a large quantity is also imported – and Iraqi Kurdish chicken farmers say they cannot compete with the international imports, flooding their market at lower prices.

“It’s a simple enough deal,” says Sarhad Hama, who owns a large chicken farm near Halabja. “Local production is not enough to meet the demands of the region. But Kurdistan also depends on imported products, so we need to export our own goods to central and southern Iraq.

At the same time imported poultry products are putting pressure on local producers. Official statistics indicate that every local in Iraqi Kurdistan consumes around 25 kilograms of chicken per year. The local government says there are 350 different poultry farms in the region, producing tonnes of chicken a day.

“If we estimate that there are about 5 million people in Iraqi Kurdistan and that each of them consumes 25 kilograms of chicken a year, then we would need 125,000 tonnes of chicken annually,” says Jamal Shukri, of the local Ministry of Agriculture. “But that exceeds the maximum locals can produce, which is why we allow imports of poultry.”

Some locals say that the local product tends to be of higher quality but the imported goods are popular because they are usually sold at lower prices.