ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Kurdistan Region’s Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources put a moratorium on the import of pomegranates “to protect domestic products.”
The order goes into effect on Sept.10 “until further notice,” an official letter from the ministry read.
This marks the latest agricultural commodity the ministry has sought to protect as the yield season for said products arrives, and the local market sees a massive surplus of supply.
In the past few years, farmers have repeatedly called on the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to block the flow of foreign products that are already produced or grown at home into the Kurdistan Region, and argue they are capable of fulfilling the needs of the domestic demand.
On Sunday, the agricultural ministry’s halt on tomato imports came into effect. “A decision was made to protect homegrown products from the competition of imported tomatoes,” the ministry’s spokesperson, Hussein Hama-Karim, said in August.
Hama-Karim added that the policy would remain in effect as long as local tomato production can fulfill the needs of domestic consumers.
His comments came days after several videos circulating on Kurdish social media networks showed local farmers disappointingly dumping tons of their inventory – tomatoes, cucumbers, etc. – because of aggressively low market prices that barely cover the cost of production.
The Kurdistan Region’s geography offers arable lands and ample agricultural opportunities, according to local economists.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany