I am a retired biologist with a life long interest in agriculture and the environment who, as a student, met Kurdish students and became aware of the situation faced by the Kurdish people under Saddam’s rule. Over the years I have followed the developments within Iraq and like so many others in different countries welcomed the fall of Saddam and a new future for those who suffered under his rule. Now I am retired I have more time to ‘surf the net’ and I have become a follower of your blogs to give me some insight into developments in Kurdistan from your articles in English.
Naturally, because of my line of work, I have maintained a particular interest in the country’s agriculture and environment and I became aware of the Kurdistan regional Government’s five year plan to increase agricultural output. Food production throughout the world must be increased to meet the needs of the constantly growing human population but, in endeavouring to do so, we face the problems of finite resources of agricultural land and water, plant and animal diseases, environmental damage and the increasing unpredictability of the weather as the earth’s atmosphere is affected by greenhouse gases and global temperatures rise. The last twelve months have seen record breaking levels of rain in countries in Europe followed by a cold winter and delayed spring giving poor harvests in 2012 and a bad start to this year’s production.
Some media sources are already warning of the possible effects the climate will have on this year’s world harvests and it has made me wonder about the situation in Kurdistan as the grain harvest approaches. In the five year plan for agriculture (2009) it was predicted that the wheat harvest this year would be 500,000 tonnes is this still the case? Have fruit and vegetable production levels increased to the plan’s predicted levels for 2013? The KRG’s decision to invest billions of dollars in agriculture from 2009 onwards must be ‘bearing fruit’ now as increasing amounts of the grain produced in other countries is now utilised for fuel production. Likewise the development of maize, soybean and olive production to give projected 2013 harvests of 200, 9, and 240 thousand tonnes should ensure some degree of self sufficiency in these for oil and animal feed production. The development of the latter was, of course, required to assist in the 2013 target of increased poultry production to 98,000 tonnes and red meat to 200,000 tonnes. In wake of the international red meat scandal that has involved so many countries this year increasing home production must again be considered as most welcome.
Could you post an article, in English, with regard to this year’s harvest and the success of the five year agricultural plan? I am sure that it will be interesting.
Dear Dr Appelton,
To keep it short the 10.6 billion US$ allocated for the five year plan never materialised, it goes without saying that the plan remained only a paper plan!. Rumour has it that a second strategic plan is in the preparation stage. I hope that it is not being prepared by the same band of “experts” and all that is produced is another glossy plan and called 'The Second Strategic Plan for Agriculture in Kurdistan.'
We are not sure what is going on, In the meantime we thank you for your interest in Kurdistan, its people and its agriculture.