ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – An official from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) announced new efforts aimed at jumpstarting the local agriculture sector to transform it into a primary source of economic revenue alongside the oil and gas industry.
“The Kurdistan Region has rich soil suited for agriculture and has plans to utilize that,” said Begard Talabani, the autonomous region's Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources (MAWR) at a conference held in Erbil on Thursday,
“One of the programs of the Kurdistan Region's ninth cabinet is to raise up the agriculture sector, reducing dependence on a single sector – oil – thus diversifying the economy and strengthening the economic infrastructure.”
Talabani continued, “We will work to address the shortcomings in terms of equipment, modern methodology, and land provision for our farmers, making sure to control the quality and prices of products.”
The region's new government, led by Prime Minister Masrour Barzani, has previously underlined its commitment to reduce dependence on oil and gas by investing in agriculture.
The Kurdistan Region has vast tracts of farmland, a climate conducive to multiple seasonal crops, and both above ground and underground water sources.
In recent years, the agriculture sector has suffered for a variety of reasons, with increased food dependence on neighboring countries like Iran and Turkey. Many farmers in border areas have also fled their lands as a result of constant ongoing armed conflict between the same two neighbors and various opposition groups, namely the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).
Editing by John J. Catherine