Potato farmers and officials in the Kurdistan Region say coronavirus movement restrictions have dried up the potato export market this year, reports Hunar Rasheed for Rudaw.
“Our main market is in Iraq’s southern provinces and traders could not move easily [to transport their products],” Dr Amjad Ubeyid, a ministry of agriculture official, told Rudaw on Sunday.
Residents of the Kurdistan Region buy around 90,000 tonnes of potatoes every year, while Kurdistani farmers produce nearly three times that annually, according to data from the ministry of agriculture. With the farmers’ supply of potatoes higher than local demand, moving the product out of the Kurdistan Region is a necessity.
“If the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) helps us export the product, it will be a good source of income for the Kurdistan Region. It is no different to oil. Farming income is similar to that of oil,” Ahmed Mohammed, a potato farmer in Duhok province’s district of Shekhan.
Despite the product’s surplus, the Region has produced 30% more potatoes in 2020 than in previous years, says the ministry of agriculture.