Halabja farmers unload wheat on streets amid storage shortage

HALABJA, Kurdistan Region — Omar Mohammed, a farmer from Halabja province, has been anxiously awaiting the harvest of his wheat for six weeks. However, instead of celebrating a bountiful harvest, he finds himself among many farmers unloading their grain directly onto the streets.

This usual scene stems from a lack of storage facilities, particularly silos, leaving farmers with no choice but to offload their produce in public spaces.

Mohammed voiced his frustrations, stating that each year, approximately half of their produce is at risk due to the absence of proper storage facilities like silos. “We have brought the wheat here with the intention of finding a customer and making a sale,” he explained. “Our lenders are no longer waiting for our loans, and the government hasn’t contributed a single penny towards our purchase of fertilizers and pesticides.”

The dire situation has left farmers like Mohammed desperate for buyers. “I swear on the Quran that the pesticide has cost me one million dinars [$700],” he lamented. “It will not spoil, but we urge them to obtain it from us. We encourage them to purchase it from us and traders.”

However, despite their efforts, farmers remain skeptical about the reliability of buyers, expressing a lack of trust in both Iraqi and Kurdish authorities. This mistrust is compounded by concerns about wheat spoilage, prompting farmers to vigilantly watch over their grain around the clock.

The absence of silos is not unique to Halabja; neighboring regions like Sharazur face similar challenges. “Dumping wheat on the streets will cause it to spoil,” asserted a representative of Sharazur farmers. “Later, when we bring it to the silo, they reject it, stating that it has spoiled or become infested with insects.”

With over 70,000 dunams of land cultivated with wheat and barley in Sharazur this year alone, the need for storage facilities is pressing. “There isn’t a silo available for storing the substantial amount of produce in Sharazur,” the representative added.

Until a solution is found, farmers like Mohammed will continue to unload their hard-earned harvest onto the streets, hoping for buyers and praying that their grain remains untainted by spoilage or neglect.

With reporting by Avin Atta

More Articles

Back to top button