MP calls on Baghdad to buy more wheat from Kurdish farmers

The lawmaker of the New Generation Movement caucus and a member of the Committee of Regions and Governorates not Organized in the Region in the Iraqi chamber said Sirwa Wins (File)

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SULAIMANI – A New Generation Movement lawmaker in the Council of Representatives has called on the federal government to increase the amount of wheat it plans to buy from Kurdish farmers.

Sirwa Wins told NRT Digital Media on Wednesday (June 26) that the reason behind the demand is that the Kurdistan Region had produced more wheat than what the federal ministry of trade had anticipated that it would buy from the Region.

“The stated amount is approximately 340,000 tons [for this year], while it was about 1 million tons in previous years,” said Wins, who is a member of the Committee of Regions and Governorates not Organized in a Region.

The issue of wheat purchases has been a ongoing, if under-acknowledged source of disagreement between Erbil and Baghdad.

“Kurdish lawmakers have called for the expenditure of the Kurdish farmers’ funds for the years of 2014, 2015, and 2016,” she added in reference to a long-running payment dispute.

Baghdad did not transfer funds to the Kurdish farmers during that period due to instability generated by to the Islamic State war, the plunge in oil prices, and the disputes between the Kurdistan Region and the central government.

She also addressed the issue of whether farmers would be compensated for this spring's damaging floods and fires.

“As a member for the committee to compensate the Kurdistan Region’s farmers affected by the floods, we continue to follow up on the issue. We will advise farmers when the committee finishes its work,” she continued. 

In terms for fire damage, she said that a committee has been established to investigate the cause of the fires and to weigh compensation claims.

(NRT Digital Media)