Specialists call for attracting international agricultural companies and investing in desert lands
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Baghdad: the mainstay of the emirate
Specialists called for supporting investment activity to advance the agricultural sector responsible for the food basket in the country, and seeking to attract specialized international and national companies to invest in desert lands and grow economic plants such as palm trees, high-oil olives, pistachios and Sidr.
Iraq seeks to achieve self-sufficiency in a number of crops that can be grown indoors, but several factors began to hinder the agricultural sector in the country, most notably water scarcity and climate changes that affected the soil and led to a reduction in reclaimed areas.
The advisor at the Ministry of Agriculture, Dr. Mahdi Al-Qaisi, told Al-Sabah, “The private sector undertakes most of the productive activities on the agricultural side, so there is a need to support agricultural investment activity through specialized companies, with the necessity of relying on drip irrigation, exploitation of groundwater, and the establishment of projects.” To manufacture products with the aim of enhancing the food and economic value chains of the crop, as well as stopping the encroachment of sand dunes and reducing storms and their repercussions.
Al-Qaisi believes that “agriculture is the basis of sustainable development and is the main engine for most productive and service sectors, the most important and prominent of which is the industrial sector, since most of the industry’s outputs are inputs to agriculture and most of the agricultural outputs are inputs to industry, and the advancement of the agricultural sector is sufficient to create job opportunities that contribute to security, community, environmental and health stability.” Noting that “the current stage requires reducing dependence on the rentier economy represented by the production and export of oil and shifting to diversifying the economy and heading towards a green economy that will reduce environmental risks and limit their various impacts.”
The advisor pointed out that “the comprehensive development of the agricultural sector requires capital commensurate with the nature of the sector, and the introduction of modern technologies for the purpose of investing the available resources and rationing them in light of the crisis and water scarcity to increase productivity and reduce waste in all stages of production, starting from seed to the consumer and the stages of marketing and food processing.” At the same time, stressing that “most of the agricultural productive activities are carried out by the private sector, so investment activity should be supported through specialized international and national companies to invest desert lands and cultivate economic plants such as palm trees, high-oil olives, pistachios and Sidr due to its economic aspects and its dependence on drip irrigation with the adoption of groundwater.” And the establishment of projects to manufacture products with the aim of enhancing the food and economic value chains of the crop, as well as stopping the encroachment of sand dunes and reducing dust storms and their repercussions.
Al-Qaisi called for the establishment of factories inside the country to invest and manufacture raw materials to cover the needs of agricultural productive and service activities that support them, including agricultural mechanization, modern irrigation systems, chemical and organic fertilizers, chemical and biological pesticides, veterinary treatments and vaccines, food and packaging factories, and modern warehouses, both plant and animal
For his part, the economic expert, Dr. Ahmed Al-Rawi, told Al-Sabah that there is a possibility available to implement some joint agricultural investments with foreign companies in building dams and establishing model agricultural projects, especially with Turkish companies to enhance economic relations in investing in the waters of shared rivers.
Al-Rawi explained that this approach would be an important element in achieving stability at various levels, noting that Iraq possesses important agricultural resources in terms of arable area if it is invested in and made into productive lands.
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