'Worst season' for lettuce growers

Water scarcity affects lettuce production and quality in Babil

BABIL, December 15 — Produce sellers in Babil have noted that locally-produced lettuce has seen a drop in quality and production this season as a result of water scarcity. The Al-Mashrou’a disctrict Department of Agriculture has also indicated that growers have shrunk their lettuce crops by as much as 25 percent compared to the previous year.

Vegetable seller Ahmed Al-Asadi shared with 964 that drought conditions, general water scarcity, and a lack of humidity have all led to the lower quality in produce this year.

“Despite the low quality, prices are high, with a kilogram reaching 750 Iraqi dinars. We sell three kilograms for 2,000 dinars, while iceberg lettuce is sold at 1,000 dinars per kilogram,” he said. “Local produce is scarce, and Iranian lettuce is widely available in the markets, selling at 500 dinars per kilogram.”

Ali Hoh, the head of the Department of Agriculture, added, “The region is suffering from a severe water shortage this year, resulting in a reduction of areas for  lettuce cultivation to less than 35,000 dunams, compared to the previous 150,000 dunams. Production quantities are low, and the weather conditions have not contributed to improving its quality. This season marks the worst for lettuce crops.”