Iraqi government to pay wheat and barley farmers immediately

The Iraqi parliament voted to increase the amount paid to Iraqi farmers for crops like wheat and barley. [Mohanned Faisal / Reuters]

The Iraqi parliament voted to increase the amount paid to Iraqi farmers for crops like wheat and barley. [Mohanned Faisal / Reuters]

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The Iraqi government will use the financial surplus gained from the increase in oil revenues to immediately pay farmers who have sold wheat and barley to the government in 2011, according to a cabinet decision Wednesday (June 29th).

Farmers are normally paid according to a fixed schedule, but the cabinet decided to allocate 1 trillion dinars from the surplus to pay them now.

"This decision came about as part of the government's desire to support farmers by paying for the wheat and barley crops for this season on time and without delay," said official government spokesperson Minister of State Ali al-Dabbagh.

In a statement released last week, he said the goal of the decision is to enable farmers to meet their financial commitments.

"These amounts are considered a mechanism to keep and maintain this sector, resolving all the obstacles that may delay it, and to boost and develop it to raise and push production forward," al-Dabbagh said.

In May, the Iraqi parliament voted unanimously on a bill to raise the price the government pays for agricultural crops, with the aim of strengthening agricultural production in Iraq.

The new price scale sets the price of shelleb rice at 1 million dinars per ton, wheat at 900,000 dinars per ton, barley at 700,000 dinars per ton and dates at 550,000 dinars per ton.

Ahmed Kareem, a member of the Iraqi parliament's committee on agriculture and waters, praised the decision to use the surplus revenue to pay farmers.

"It is a decision that shows patronage to the farmers and concern and attention for the agricultural sector," he told Mawtani.

Kareem also called on the Iraqi government to "develop the agriculture sector and make decisions that serve and encourage farmers".

"If such support continues, much will be achieved that will surpass the country's needs, and we will surpass the level of self-sufficiency to that of exporting," he said.

Kareem al-Tamimi, spokesperson for the Ministry of Agriculture, also voiced his support for the decision.

"The decision to make the new allocation is very important and will have a profound effect on the state of agriculture by encouraging farmers to increase their investments in the land," he told Mawtani.

Al-Tamimi cited the government's programs to provide seeds, fertilizers and pesticides to farmers as evidence of its commitment to developing Iraqi agriculture.

He also said that his ministry has other ambitious plans to improve agriculture in Iraq, including signing contracts with well-known foreign companies to introduce modern irrigation systems.

"Numbers received by the ministries of planning and trade confirm that during this season, the marketed crops reached one and a half million tons, in addition to what the farmers usually keep as seeds, which confirms that agriculture is making good strides in comparison with previous seasons," al-Tamimi said.

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    حارث عاكر

    2011-7-12

    The problem of food products, and especially flour, has caused Iraqis to suffer. In fact, many of the flour agents have supplied Iraqi families with a bad quality of flour, due to impurities, and because the flour was not well ground. This has prevented us from using it in a good way, because its quality doesn’t meet the required level. Thus, Iraqi families have become unable to bake good bread, due to the bad quality of the flour. This will have many unhealthy results. This is repeated every time we get flour from the food products agencies. In fact, we have asked the agencies about the reason behind this bad quality, and they have replied that they are not responsible for it. This bad quality of flour has caused many diseases, such as stomachache and colon inflammation. How long will this painful situation last? In fact, we have gotten the worst kinds of flour from the agencies of food products.