Acute fall in Iraqi food production exposes major flaws

Adnan Hussein

Published: Updated:

The Iraqi reconstruction conference held in Kuwait brought international organizations to the fore, exposing the serious flaws in the country’s political system, which its leaders are in the habit of flaunting along with their hollow achievements.

Agricultural produce falls by 40 percent

For instance, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has stated in its latest report that Iraq’s rural population, estimated at 12 million people (one third of the country's population), live in deplorable conditions. This is quiet the irony as the land of Mesopotamia has always been a place of agricultural abundance and civilization.

The report notes the worsening condition of agriculture in Iraq, with more than three quarters of Iraqi food consumption — which includes the inhabitants of the countryside — is imported from neighboring countries. The major food items imported include milk, yoghurt, cucumbers and tomatoes.

ISIS's occupation was a natural outcome of the flawed policies pursued by the government before 2014. Indeed, the same style of functioning continues to this day!

Adnan Hussein

In addition to the lack of funds to invest in the agricultural sector, the absence of a protectionist policy in the state of Iraq makes the Iraqi agricultural produce uncompetitive in the market, making it more expensive and poorer in quality than the imported food items.

The report also states that Iraqi agricultural production has fallen by 40 percent over the past four years, after the terrorist organization ISS took control of large swathes of territory that led to the destruction of infrastructure, water resources, looting of agricultural equipment, seeds, crops, stored stocks and animals. It is known that the ISIS occupation was a natural outcome of the flawed policies pursued by the government before 2014. Indeed, the same style of functioning continues to this day!

Collapsing healthcare system

The report concludes that the agricultural sector needs to be revitalized in order to improve food production and the recovery of the rural population’s basic nutrition. This is a task that is not easy to achieve. The ruling political class, because of its corruption, has left nothing for agriculture, industry or public services. Today, the Iraqi government is seeking help from other states and international organizations.

For its part, the International Health Organization has revealed another grim fact. It reports that about 2.4 million people are in dire need of immediate healthcare. In fact, even non-displaced Iraqis who live in big cities like Baghdad and Basra also lack necessary healthcare services. This is the disastrous outcome of the policies pursued by the ruling Islamic parties, from which Iraqis have received nothing but poverty, unemployment and the collapse of the administrative services, along with a pervasive sense of disappointment and corruption!

This article is also available in Arabic.
Adnan Hussein is the executive editor-in-chief of Al-Mada newspaper and head of the National Union of Iraqi journalists. Previously, he has held the position of Managing Editor in Asharq al-Awsat newspaper. He tweets under the handle @adnanhussein

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