Setback and death... Iraqi ports are closed to "red vegetables" and farmers destroy them to protest[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] |Today[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
Baghdad today - follow-up
Tomatoes are one of the most important Iraqi agricultural crops, and their cultivation is widespread in all regions because of their ability to withstand various climatic conditions.
Tomato cultivation in Iraq is facing a major setback, due to several factors, most notably poor marketing, water scarcity, and the opening of foreign imports at the expense of the national product, which prompted farmers to protest and demonstrate in several Iraqi regions.
In northern Iraq, dozens of farmers demonstrated last Wednesday and destroyed their agricultural crops as a form of protest against the introduction of tomatoes imported from neighboring countries, and the failure to provide the necessary support to farmers, demanding to stop importing the product from neighboring countries and be satisfied with the local product.
As a result of these protests, the Ministry of Agriculture in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq decided to close the international border crossings and outlets and the main internal roads with the rest of Iraq’s governorates to the entry of some locally available agricultural crops, in support of the region’s farmers, including the tomato crop.
The Minister of Agriculture in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, Bakird Talabani, said in a press statement that her ministry is in constant contact with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture in Baghdad, and a joint committee has been formed to address this problem.
Southern agriculture is dying
In southern Iraq, Basra Governorate is considered one of the Iraqi governorates that produces the most tomatoes. Al-Zubair District included more than 9,000 farms sufficient to cover the needs of the Iraqi market. However, the problems facing the agricultural sector reduced the number of these farms to approximately 4,000 farms, which poses a major threat to agriculture. Iraqi tomatoes.
A member of the Union of Cooperative Agricultural Societies in Basra Governorate, Abdul Hassan Kazem, said that the tomato cultivation sector is facing the risk of collapse, due to the successive strikes it has been subjected to due to the opening of the borders to the import of Iranian tomatoes.
Kazem stated that the price of imported tomatoes in the market does not cover the costs of producing the local tomato crop, which exposed the Iraqi farmer to great financial losses, as the price of one kilogram of tomatoes in the market reached around one thousand dinars per kilogram, which is equivalent to 30 thousand dinars ( About $20 per box, due to the cheapness of the imported product and its large subsidization within its original countries.
Kazem stressed that agriculture in Basra Governorate is dying, due to what it suffers from great government neglect, in addition to water scarcity and the failure to provide the necessary support to farmers, indicating that “ignoring these risks will lead to a major disaster that threatens Iraqi food security.”
Kazem called on the relevant government agencies to intervene quickly to protect the local product from destruction and extinction, in the face of attacks by neighboring countries that seek to kill agriculture in Iraq.
Official statistics showed that the tomato crop ranks first among the most productive vegetable crops in Iraq, and its production was estimated at 755 thousand tons per season, and due to factors of drought, water scarcity, and flooding of the market with imported goods, it decreased to less than half, which poses a major threat to the cultivation of this crop. .
The expert in agricultural economics, Adel Al-Mukhtar, confirmed that the Iraqi agricultural sector is going through a state of comprehensive collapse that has affected various agricultural sectors, such as livestock, poultry, fish, and the cultivation of crops and vegetables, including tomatoes.
Al-Mukhtar held the Ministry of Agriculture responsible for the collapse of the tomato sector, due to its inability to provide the necessary prevention, protection and support to farmers in order to increase their production capacity.
He added that opening the door to importing crops from abroad cost Iraqi farmers huge losses, which led to the killing of national agriculture, including the cultivation of tomato crops.
Demands to close ports
In central Iraq, the local union of cooperative agricultural societies in Karbala Governorate called for the closure of border crossings to crops imported from neighboring countries, especially tomatoes.
The president of the union, Walid Al-Kuraiti, said in a press statement that the peak production of agricultural crops, including tomatoes, begins on the tenth day of November every year, and that production reaches more than 16 thousand tons per day throughout Iraq, while most peasants and farmers depend on Their production is self-financing without government support.
He pointed out that the government's lack of interest in the tomato crop and its failure to protect it from imported competition caused a significant drop in prices, in addition to the damage caused to farmers and peasants.
Source: Al-Arabi Al-Jadeed