Factories closed

Hilla rope trade experiences decline, falling demand

HILLA – At the heart of the Al-Hilla market, a handful of shops uphold the ancient craft of selling ropes, an industry that has seen a decline amidst the evolving economic landscape of the country. These businesses, situated near the blacksmiths’ market, stand as vestiges of an era when ropes made in Iraq were essential, backed by four dedicated manufacturing plants. Yet, changes have led to these facilities either shutting down, closing, or being repurposed.

Despite the downturn, there remains a specialized market for Iraqi-made ropes, especially for applications such as weaving fishing nets, which incorporate cotton. This decline in the industry reflects broader economic shifts, particularly in agriculture, which used to generate much of the demand for ropes.

Naeem Al-Yasiri, a merchant in this sector, provided insights to 964media regarding the industry’s former significance and its current struggles. “Before 2003, the rope industry was vital, particularly in agriculture where it found extensive use. Nowadays, demand has dwindled, with ropes being utilized in construction and the transportation of goods, but rarely in farming,” Al-Yasiri observed.

Lutfi Al-Muhanna, another retailer, pointed out the economic challenges impacting production. “Iraq was home to four rope-making factories, each producing a variety of ropes. Unfortunately, they have all stopped operations due to the high costs of production,” Al-Muhanna stated.

The current market for ropes is varied, with imports bridging the gap left by local production. The prices differ depending on the origin and type of rope, with Iranian ropes priced at 3,000 dinars per kilo ($2), Turkish ones at 5,000 dinars ($3.30), and fine gauge varieties offered at 2,000 dinars per roll ($1.30).