Farmers, produce stand owners dump vegetables in Erbil to protest KRG agricultural policies

Local produce cannot compete with cheaper imports
Farmers and produce stand owners dump produce in protest of the KRG's agriculture policies on July 6, 2020 (NRT Digital Media)

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SULAIMANI — Vegetable stand owners and farmers in Erbil protested by dumping their produce onto a major roadway on Monday (July 6) because they are unable to sell their products at market due to the presence of cheap imports.

They blamed the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) for giving lip service to the issue, which has been a persistent problem, adding that the government should unify local markets and either export the Region’s excess produce or make use of them in local factories and businesses.

The protest took place on the Duhok-Erbil road, a major traffic artery, near the Kurdistan Region's capital.

Later on during the protests, tensions occurred when the security forces tried to disperse the demonstration and reopen the road.

NRT reporter Omed Chomani said that the NRT team on the scene was ordered by the security forces to stop its live coverage of the protest.

Protests are comparatively rare in Erbil compared with other parts of the Kurdistan Region, with the security forces and the locally-dominant Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) taking a hard line against public expressions of dissent and criticism.

Last summer, similar protests caused public outcry and prompted the KRG to temporarily ban the import of certain fruits and vegetables.

Earlier this month, an Ezidi farmer attracted significant attention on social media for dumping his produce because he could not sell it.

(NRT Digital Media)

This story was updated at 7:06 p.m. EBL