Kurdistan Region's potato harvest exceeds domestic needs, eyes export markets

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources, the Kurdistan Region requires 100,000 tons of potatoes annually. However, this year’s production is projected to reach over 650,000 tons.
A potato farm in the Nawkur plain in Bardarash district of Duhok province. (Photo: Kurdistan 24)
A potato farm in the Nawkur plain in Bardarash district of Duhok province. (Photo: Kurdistan 24)

ERBIL (Kurdistan24) - It is the time of year when farmers in the Kurdistan Region begin harvesting their crops, and this season, potato farmers have started their harvest.

This year’s potato yield is expected to exceed domestic needs, with production anticipated to surpass 300,000 tons in the Nawkur plains alone.

In the Nawkur plain of Bardarash district, Duhok province, over 30,000 dunams of potatoes are grown annually. Farmer Mohsin Abdullah, who planted more than 1,000 dunams of potatoes this year, is now reaping the rewards of his labor.

He told Kurdistan24's correspondent Ari Hussein that, “This year, I planted more than 1,200 dunams of land with potatoes. Our crop is very well ripe, fresh, and local.” 

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources, the Kurdistan Region requires 100,000 tons of potatoes annually. However, this year’s production is projected to reach over 650,000 tons.

Consequently, the government is working to market and export the surplus, particularly to Gulf countries.

Mazin Ali expressed his gratitude for the efforts of the ninth cabinet of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in marketing and exporting agricultural products.

“We are very grateful to the ninth cabinet of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) for its efforts to export farmers' products, especially potatoes. We hope this year our products are exported again. This is still important to us,” he said.

Agricultural experts emphasize the significance of exporting farmers’ products outside the Kurdistan Region, noting that it encourages farmers to enhance and expand their operations.

Anwar Kheder, an agricultural engineer at the Sheikhan General Directorate of Agriculture, stated, “The ninth cabinet pays great attention to exporting farmers' products, especially potatoes in the past two years, which encourages farmers to develop their business.”

This year's potato production in the Nawkur plain is expected to reach over 300,000 tons. Once harvested, the potatoes are tested at a local agricultural laboratory before some are stored in local warehouses equipped with modern temperature and humidity controls.

Since 2009, potato cultivation has thrived in the Nawkur plain, which has become the center of potato production in the Kurdistan Region and Iraq.

Potatoes in the region are classified into two types: edible potatoes, with about 30 varieties, and industrial potatoes, with six varieties used for chips and fingerlings.

In the Kurdistan Region, potatoes are planted from February 1 to March 1, and the harvesting season begins in early June. The standard planting method involves spacing roots 25 cm apart and planting them at a depth of 20 cm.