Yet another row between Erbil and Baghdad, this time over wheat


ERBIL, Kurdistan Area–Kurdish farmers are dismayed by an Iraqi authorities resolution to solely purchase half 1,000,000 tons of the wheat from them after they anticipate to reap at the very least 1.5 million tons within the coming harvesting season.


The Kurdistan Regional Authorities (KRG) kinds an evaluation committee from specialists in ministries of commerce, finance, planning, and agriculture yearly to find out the pricing and quantity of crops purchased from farmers.


“On this yr’s funds, 1.7 trillion Iraqi Dinars (Approx. US$ 1.3billion) has been devoted to purchase wheat from farmers and import it from overseas. However this quantity is little, and can’t subsequently present for the wants of the Iraqi individuals. Therefore, the committee has requested the council of ministers so as to add one other trillion to the funds with the intention to buy wheat. And the council has authorised the request. However this improve within the funds needs to be authorised by the parliament, too,” Najeba Najeb, an Iraqi MP on the financial and funding committee, informed Rudaw.


Najeb additionally talked concerning the value and quantity of the wheat which the Iraqi authorities is planning to purchase from Kurdistan’s farmers.


“No closing resolution has but been made on the worth and quantity of wheat anticipated to be bought from farmers. However the place of the excessive evaluation committee and that of the Iraqi council of ministers is that solely 17 p.c from the funds decided to purchase wheat, be devoted to buy wheat from farmers within the Kurdistan Area, which shall be 500,000 to 550,000 tons of wheat.”


Iraq wants four.5 million tons of wheat yearly to supply for flour and different wheat-related merchandise of its individuals. It buys a few of this wheat from its farmers with sponsored pricing, and imports the remaining from overseas.


“Prior to now, the Iraqi Commerce Ministry was shopping for wheat from farmers of Kurdistan in accordance with its advertising and marketing plan. However final yr, in a bid to harm Kurdistan Area’s economic system and below the pretext of getting inadequate funds, they bought solely 70 p.c of the wheat produced by farmers in Kurdistan, whereas they bought 90 p.c of the wheat produced by farmers in different provinces,” Najeb added.


“There may be an try in Iraq to politicise the buying of wheat from farmers in a bid to harm Kurdistan Area’s economic system. The [Kurdish] prime minister himself together with the ministry are speaking to authorities in Baghdad, urging them to not politicise the matter, additionally asking them to ship farmers their cash of their latest years sale of wheat [to Baghdad],” Dr Abdulrazaq Nawandi, basic supervisor of the presidency of the ministry of commerce and trade, stated.

Kurdish farmers and officers reject this Iraqi authorities resolution to dedicate solely 17 p.c from its wheat buy funds to purchase wheat from farmers within the Kurdistan Area.


“We’re not glad with this resolution. We reject it,” Nawandi added. “We are going to discuss to them and urge them to purchase at the very least half of the (wheat) produced by farmers in Kurdistan.”


Over the previous 5 years, the scale of land used to develop wheat elevated from 434,250  hectares to 775,000 hectares. Throughout this time period, wheat merchandise additionally elevated, from 227,000 tons to 1.68 million tons.


Beneath the pretext of economic disaster and insufficient funds, the Iraqi authorities diminished 92,000 IQD from the worth of 1 ton of wheat. In addition they allowed Kurdistan Area’s silos to solely purchase practically 882 tons of wheat from farmers with value assist.


Because of this, 800,000 tons of wheat was left undesirable. This was a giant drawback to farmers. A few of them needed to promote their merchandise for lower than half of obtained value with the intention to repay their money owed incurred from farming prices. 


Based on a KRG’s agriculture ministry letter on October 25, 2016, this yr alone, 888,000 hectares of land within the Kurdistan Area have been used to develop wheat. A duplicate of this letter has been despatched to the federal authorities’s agriculture ministry. It’s anticipated that this yr’s wheat product will attain 1.673 million tons. If Baghdad goes forward with its resolution, greater than 1,000,000 tons of wheat shall be left over outdoors the area’s silos.


“In an try and assist framers’ merchandise and assist promote the wheat that’s not offered, we submitted a challenge to the ministerial council final yr, suggesting that the federal government buys 500,000 to 600,000 tons of wheat from farmers for a value increased than the worth of the inventory trade,” Dr Anwar Omar, spokesperson for the ministry of agriculture and water sources, stated. 


“The Kurdistan Area’s Excessive Financial Council has our challenge. The federal government couldn’t dedicate funds to purchase wheat from farmers final yr as a result of monetary disaster. This yr, we try to succeed in an settlement with international corporations, urging them to buy the farmers’ wheat. We’re additionally planning so as to add 50,000 IQD to each ton of wheat they promote in a present of assist to the crops produced by farmers,” Abdulstar Majid, the KRG minister of agriculture and water sources, informed Rudaw.


As a way to scale back imports and depend on native merchandise, we have now requested the ministerial council to permit us to ban imports of wheat merchandise in order that we will make these merchandise from native wheat produced within the Kurdistan Area, Omar added.


“There may be huge demand on Kurdistan’s wheat, particularly from Iran, Jordan, Syrian and Switzerland. They’re ready to purchase wheat from us for the worth listed within the inventory trade,” Omar detailed.