Video: Potato farmers in Abu Ghraib face economic challenges despite high production
BAGHDAD, February 2– The Zaidan market in the west of the capital continues to receive potato shipments from local farmers. However, according to the farmers, the selling price does not cover the costs of cultivation, harvest, and care, with a ton of local potatoes selling for approximately 200,000 Iraqi Dinars.
Farmers estimate that a “fair price,” covering production expenses and profits, would be around 400,000 Dinars per ton.
In discussions with several farmers, 964media learned of grievances regarding the lack of enforcement of local product protection policies.
Ghazi Fleih, a potato farmer, told 964media, “We are selling a ton for 180,000 Dinars, but we buy seeds for 400,000 Dinars, meaning this entire truckload doesn’t even cover the cost of the seeds.”
He further explained the financial strain, noting that a ton of seed costs more than 4.5 million Iraqi Dinars, necessitating the sale of 30 tons of harvested potatoes just to purchase a ton of seeds.
The cost of chemical fertilizers reaches 400,000 Dinars, with well and pump expenses exceeding two million Dinars, excluding other costs.
Laith Salem, an agricultural office owner in Al-Zaidan, lamented the influx of smuggled imported potatoes through several ports, criticizing the lack of support from the ministry for agriculture and farmers. He highlighted the high costs of potato seeds and chemical fertilizers.
Hamid Farhan, another agricultural office owner, shared his distress with 964media, “This year, we suffered greatly. The average price for a ton of potatoes is 200,000 Dinars, with expensive seeds and fertilizers. Our produce is not in demand, causing losses for us and other farmers.”