Iraq offers investors thousands of opportunities in agricultural sector

A farmer works in his tomato field near Basra. [Stringer/Reuters]

A farmer works in his tomato field near Basra. [Stringer/Reuters]

  • COMMENT 7
  • Print this article
  • increase decrease

Iraq is offering thousands of opportunities to invest in the country's agricultural industry as part of the effort to develop and reform the industry, the Iraqi Ministry of Agriculture announced last week.

The ministry has allocated 10 million dunams of agricultural land scattered across 13 provinces for investment projects. The ministry will also provide advice to investors about the best uses of any particular piece of land, based on previous studies of the locations.

The opportunities include projects that had been started several decades ago but had been abandoned because of the massive damages inflicted on them during 2003.

According to ministry officials, the rehabilitation work to get those projects back to operation requires a level of funding and expertise that the ministry is unable to provide without the assistance of outside investment.

"Investments play an important role in supporting and bolstering the efforts aimed at achieving growth in all areas, including the agricultural sector, which forms the backbone of the national economy for any country," said Sabah Deraa Abed, director general of the General Commission for Organising Agricultural Investments.

"On this basis, we are now trying to attract various local and foreign companies to enter into the agricultural sector to invest in it. We are allocating 195,000 opportunities for agricultural investment, and have prepared 10 million dunams [of land] on which projects can be established," he told Mawtani.

"These agricultural lands, which are scattered across 13 provinces, are free of any encroachments or legal or administrative problems. We have conducted intense field studies and analysis within the investment map project to determine their eligibility for investment," he said.

"Those studies give the investor considerable data on the land in which he wishes to invest in, in terms of the type of soil, the level of salinity, and the grade of its fertility, as well as provide advice on the nature of the investment project which can be established on it," Abed said.

Food security, employment opportunities

Spokesman for the Ministry of Agriculture, Kareem al-Tamimi, said his ministry "is counting on the investment opportunities to lift up and improve the state of the agricultural sector's infrastructure."

"There are giant agricultural projects, such as those for raising animals, animal products, transformative industries, and agricultural supplies, that are in need of repair and rehabilitation to bring them back into service again or raise their productivity and efficiency," al-Tamimi told Mawtani.

"Investment will help the ministry in both a technical and financial way to reconstruct and upgrade those projects so that they would help in meeting the country's needs for food products and locally manufactured agricultural goods. They will also provide thousands of work opportunities for the unemployed," he said.

"The ministry is keen to encourage parties to enter into the field of agricultural investment, and has taken several steps in this respect, such as preparing the investment map, and adoption of the one-window process to facilitate the investor's obtaining the necessary permit, and complete all the administrative steps needed to begin his project," he said.

Al-Tamimi said the ministry supports small and medium agricultural projects through the Small Farmers Fund, which since 2008 and up to now, has given out loans exceeding 900 billion dinars ($773 million).

Agricultural expert Adel al-Mukhtar said he supported opening the doors for investments in the agricultural sector, and noted the economic returns that such a move would achieve and how it will reinforce food security for Iraqi citizens.

Al-Mukhtar told Mawtani that there are obstacles that might hinder the entry of agriculture-specialised investment companies, the most important of which is the competition posed by imports.

"When an investor studies the state of the local market, he notices the presence of large quantities of imported agricultural and food products that are offered at competitive prices in comparison with the local products, and this does not encourage him to invest in the agricultural sector," he said.

Al-Mukhtar said legislation was needed "that would safeguard local agricultural products in the face of imports, as well as provide all the administrative and logistic facilities and the banking guarantees for investors".

ADD A COMMENT (COMMENT POLICY) * DENOTES REQUIRED FIELD

* DENOTES REQUIRED FIELD

Test
  • READER COMMENTS

    ابو بكر

    2013-1-19

    I feel that these hopes in the investments are strange and overestimated as if this is the only way to build Iraq. Why does the state not start such great projects that are declared in the investment committees in all governorates. Do we not have money? The money in the banks and the state’s treasury receives billions of surpluses that are not needs in the yearly budget. Why do we not invest money in building the factories and farms? They employ thousands of the vocational graduates, artists, engineers and other graduates from the other colleges, knowing that we have many giants in the field of industrial, agricultural, and housing sectors. However, the problem is that the officials think about how to benefit from them. They do not care how their people live or where those thousands of the graduates go every year.

  • حامد محمد عايش

    2012-11-24

    I am an Iraqi citizen, I would like to have some agricultural land for investment purposes.

  • عصام منعم

    2012-9-13

    I am an Iraqi citizen. I would like to obtain a piece of agricultural land for investment purposes. Thanks.

  • ابويوسف

    2012-9-10

    Long live Iraq that is rich with the land, people and water! I ask Almighty God for success to everybody. Abu Yusuf al-Mandalawi.

  • قاصد سعيد

    2012-3-7

    I am an Iraqi citizen and I would like to call on the opportunity to work because I am very much in need of a job. I would like to have a monthly salary and contribute to achieving my dream after graduation. I am willing to contribute and join my brothers in providing our services to our country and become effective in building Iraq again, especially since Iraq today needs all the hands of the Iraqis in order to build the new Iraq. More hands are needed and more work will be given at the same time. Work has become a very important aspect of our living conditions and requirements in order to feed our families in an ethical manner. For that reason, I ask for the opportunity to get a job to be of help to my family and provide all of their simple needs. I hope that you will kindly approve my request in helping me get a job because my life is very difficult and harsh. Thank you very much.Muhammad Ali Fadhel.

  • مفيد

    2012-3-7

    I am an Iraqi citizen and I would like to demand an opportunity to work and build my country as well as bring the best ambitions that every young Iraqi man dreams of. I would like to establish a new, successful and sophisticated life that contributes to the establishment of a better future. Therefore, I would like to ask for a job opportunity and get a monthly salary so that I can help my family under the difficult harsh and bitter conditions, especially since there are investment projects happening in Iraq. My thanks, appreciation and respect for you.

  • صباح

    2012-3-2

    You have urged us to regret Saddam’s days. The former government has been a group which is famous for theft and criminality. Today, the Islamic parties are agents of Iran and all of them are thieves and criminals.