Amid negotiations between KRG, federal government

Kurdistan Region wheat farmers face delays in as silos remain closed

KURDISTAN REGION — Farmers in the Kurdistan Region are facing delays in delivering their wheat as silos remain closed due to ongoing negotiations between the Kurdistan Regional Government and the Iraqi federal government regarding wheat intake quotas.

The Garmiyan wheat silo in Sulaymaniyah’s Kalar district, which was scheduled to open two days ago, has yet to begin operations. The holdup stems from a lack of agreement on the precise amount of wheat the Iraqi government will accept from KRG farmers this season.

Each year, the government-owned silos under the administration of the KRG purchase wheat from local farmers at predetermined quantities and prices set by the Iraqi government. This year, government silos are offering up to 850,000 dinars per ton ($649), significantly higher than the open market prices, which range between 350,000 to 400,000 dinars per ton ($267 to $306).

Karwan Raouf, the manager of the Kalar silo, explained to 964media, “We have postponed the reopening of the silo while we await the resolution of negotiations to determine the exact quantity of wheat that Baghdad will accept.”

This delay has prompted some farmers to transport their wheat to Kirkuk’s silos instead, seeking alternatives due to the uncertainty in Garmiyan.

Farmers in Erbil have also expressed concerns about the impact of market prices on their livelihood. Salman Aziz, a local farmer, highlighted the potential losses if forced to sell at market prices, stating, “If the silo gates do not open soon, we will face severe financial difficulties this year.”

The KRG’s Minister of Agriculture has requested Iraq to accept 900,000 tons of wheat from the region, but the Iraqi Ministry of Trade has currently agreed to only 700,000 tons.

Hiwa Ali, a spokesperson for the KRG Ministry of Agriculture, emphasized the importance of the negotiations. “The Ministry has provided accurate data to Baghdad, and we are in ongoing negotiations regarding the amount of wheat to be received this year,” Ali said.

With 519,000 acres of land planted with wheat in the Kurdistan Region, expecting a production of over two million tons, the timely opening of silos is crucial for farmers. Typically, these silos operate from the beginning of June until mid-July to accommodate the wheat harvest.