Bardarash harvests 160,000 tons of potatoes
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The potatoes harvesting season continues in Kurdistan Region, and the Baradarsh district in Duhok province is taking the lead in producing the majority of the province’s potatoes.
The heavy manual labor of harvesting potatoes is carried out on large swathes of land on the district's plains.
Farmers start the harvest after sunset, soon after sunrise, they stop the labor because of the scorching heat of the summer.
Farmers in Duhok province are proud of their potatoes and they have proved they can harvest great quantity and with good quality.
This year the production of potatoes in Bardarash has increased by 200%, reaching 160,000 tons, making the farmers satisfied and happy.
According to Tahseen Muhammed, director of agriculture in Bardarash, every year a large area of Bardarash is cultivated with potatoes, this year 20 thousand dunams (4940 acres) of land were cultivated, which will produce over 160,000 tons of potatoes.
Last year 11,000 dunams (over 2700 acres) were cultivated with potatoes in Bardarash, this year it was increased to 20,000 dunams (4940 acres), which is an increase of 200%, Muhammed said.
He explained that the reason for this growth is more water wells, as well as a good number of cold stores.
The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs in partnership with the Kurdish Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources and the private sector is establishing a potato cold storage and processing factory in Duhok province, which will reach 8000 farmers.
This is another factor behind the optimism of farmers leading them to produce more potatoes.
Hakim Omar, a worker from Akre said that he and three members of his family arrive in the fields at 04:00 am and start sorting out harvested potatoes until 10:00 am, they do this every year and his family depends on this income.
Jotiyar Shaban, cultivates over 350 dunams (86 acres) of land with potatoes in the Nawkuri plains in Bardarash.
He told Kurdistan 24 that this year the harvest is better and around 500 workers work in his fields on a daily basis, he sends much of harvested potatoes to central and southern provinces of Iraq.
Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources in Kurdistan Region has facilitated our work but processing all potatoes is still not easy, we have a sizeable harvest so we need potato chips factories and French fries factories, and more cold stores.’ He added.
The Region's annual need for potatoes is 100,000 tons while the region produces around 500,000 tons.
The Director of agriculture in Bardarash was optimistic that the processing factory project will soon be completed and will help take in potatoes from the area because it will be able to buy 50,000 to 100,000 tons of potatoes annually.