Dear Dr. Talib:
I was pleased to read your footage about major emphasis by top political- decision makers of current Iraqi Government from Mam Jalal Talabani to Mr Nori Al-Maliki and Mr.Massoud Barzani. It is time to implement talks with genuine deeds. Moreover, I was impressed by the work performed by KRG in constructing small dams to harness the water from rain, snow,and springs for agriculture purpose and as a means to increase the area of surface water that can increase relative humidity of the atmosphere thus improve conditions to combat drought. That is very important indeed and equally important is to carry out a major campaign of reforestation in Kurdistan as another major factor in increasing the moisture in the atmosphere and reducing soil erosion. I did a pilot project in Dohuk from 1954-1956 when I was Muraqib Ghabat of Duhok. I supervised planting pine and spruce trees in Gully Duhok for the first time. As I remember the charcoal industry was wide spread in Kurdistan Region beginning from 1940 till 1960 and to some extent even now. That activity led to marked reduction in the area covered by green forests and instead of large trees we now see scattered shrubs gown naturally in their places. Therefore, you need to convince the KRG to implement a comprehensive program of growing trees to restore the conditions under which there was more snow and rainfall prior to 1940.
As far as the rest of Iraq where the land is flat and agriculture is primarily dependent on irrigation the major problem facing this area is soil salinity which is considered number 1 problem facing agriculture there. Modern technology can tackle that problem through large scale soil desalinization projects wherever soil salinity occurs primarily by man made drainage projects. In order to delineate soils according to their potential productivity and management concerted efforts should be made to carry out soil taxonomy which includes at least semi- detailed soil survey and classification.
There were and I think still are Agricultural Experimental Stations in several areas of Iraq but as far as I remember there were no Soil Testing Services provided to the farmers for a nominal fee. And in order to increase crop production through sound fertilizer recommendations for various crops it is necessary to establish such programs all over Iraq.
I know the task lies on shoulders of many experts in every field of agriculture but the social, economical, and political conditions are speaking loudly for serious changes to carry out a green revolution for food security and political stability and the rewards are endless.
Mohammed Sa'id Berigari, Ph.D.
Senior Soil and Environmental Scientist-USA