Dozens of Kurdish farmers protest in Baghdad for wheat harvest payments

Payment of three years
Dozens of farmers from the Kurdistan Region gather in Tahrir Saqure in Baghdad to protest against the central government for not paying their wheat harvest payment, April 16, 2019.

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SULAIMANI — Dozens of Kurdish farmers protested in Baghdad on Tuesday (April 16) saying that the central government has not paid them for three years of wheat harvests.

NRT Digital Media reporter Omed Mohammed said that the farmers gathered in Tahrir Square in Baghdad and called on the central government to make payments on wheat harvests for 2014, 2015, and 2016.

A farmer told NRT Digital Media that the central government owes him more than 185 million Iraqi dinars ($155,000) for the crops that he harvested during that period in the Kurdistan Region.

“The Minister of Trade has said that the budget for farmers requires an additional 75 billion dinars in funding to be sent to the Kurdistan Region,” the farmer added.

He called on the federal Ministry of Finance to add the money to the country's agriculture budget.

The farmers say that the government owes a total of nearly 500 billion Iraqi dinars ($419 million) to the farmers for those three years.

The central government buys a large proportion of its wheat from domestic farmers, but the agriculture sector has seen high levels of disruption in recent years because of the war against Islamic State.

As a result, much of Iraq's rice and wheat is imported. Australia, Canada, and the United States are the primary countries of origin for wheat.

(NRT Digital Media)