Tobacco harvest begins in Mariwan in Iranian Kurdistan

Farmer Haji Abdulla picks tobacco in near Mariwan (NRT Digital Media)

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SULAIMANI — Mariwan in Iranian Kurdistan is one of the most famous tobacco-producing areas in the country with more than 2,000 tons of the plant produced each year.

The plains around the city are ideal for producing tobacco and across the district famers have already begun the fall harvest, which they planted in the spring.

Men, women, and children are busy picking and drying tobacco, before bundling and loading it into trucks for transport.

Like their counterparts in the neighboring Kurdistan Region, however, farmers in Mariwan say that they are having difficulty selling their product at a price that they can live on.

In his seventies, Haji Abdulla said that he has spent half of his life farming tobacco in the area.

Despite the intense effort that goes into producing the crop, farmers say that they are unable to sell it for a price that makes it profitable as an industry. The Kurdish areas of Iran are among the poorest in the country and many young people are forced to seek work elsewhere in the cities.

As US sanctions continue to bite and make it harder to import goods from abroad, a profitable agricultural sector will be crucial to the national and local economy.

(NRT Digital Media)