The Union of Peasants of Hawija district, southwest of Kirkuk Governorate, warned of damage to thousands of tons of maize crop produced in the governorate due to the delay in receiving the necessary quantities from the government.
December is the ripening season for the maize crop, but with the first wave of rain, some farmers fear that their efforts will be lost, because moisture will harm the crop if it is not preserved in a dry place.
Muhammad Ali al-Jibouri, an activist in the Hawija district, launched an urgent appeal to the Iraqi Prime Minister and the Ministry of Agriculture in a video clip that circulated on social networks.
“The government have received very small quantities during maize harvest, while the rain threatens the harvested crop.”
This comes despite the presence of a silo warehouse in the district, while the Ministry of Agriculture began receiving a small amount of corn from farmers.
"We call on the government to expedite opening the doors of the silos for us to receive all the farmers' crops and export it to other provinces."
Al-Jibouri indicated that those in charge of the silos said they no longer have enough space."
Kirkuk is one of the top governorates in the production of maize due to the fertility of its lands, which are suitable for the cultivation of this crop.
Zuhair Ali, Director of Kirkuk Agriculture, said that the province's production of maize crop reached 536,399 tons, planted on an area of 230,000 hectares, as Kirkuk comes first among the provinces of Iraq.
Abdullah Abed, a farmer from Hawija, produced 50 tons of corn this year, but the government has not received it from him yet.
"My crops are about to be destroyed by the rains," says Abed. "I don't have a proper place to store them."
The government buys one ton of corn from farmers for 500,000 Iraqi dinars IQD (USD330), but according to Abed, the slow reception and the presence of some "obstacles" have prompted some farmers to consider selling their crops in the markets.
According to (KirkukNow) investigations, the price of one ton of corn in the market does not exceed 200,000 IQD at best.
"In the market, they paid me 180,000 dinars per ton, and this is a small amount, and I will lose a lot, but if the situation continues in this way, we will have to sell our crops, because that is better than being destroyed," Abed added.
According to statistics from the Hawija District Farmers Union, 400,000 tons of maize are threatened with spoilage in Kirkuk Governorate, Maddallah Mahmoud, deputy head of the Farmers Union, confirmed to KirkukNow.
Hawija district is not the only town suffering from this problem, the situation for the farmers of Daquq is no different.
In Daquq, 7,700 hectares of land were planted this year with the corn crop as part of an agricultural plan. So far, the amount of corn produced in Daquq, which was sent to other provinces has reached 2,600 tons, especially to the southern governorates of Iraq, according to a source in the Daquq Department of Agriculture.
The export process is generally supervised by the government, after receiving the crop in the state silos.
Zirak Youssef, a farmer from Daquq, said, "This year I planted 100 donums (hectares) of corn, but I managed to market a small part of it, even the merchants refuse to receive it from us, so I will have to sell my crops at a low price and lose a lot."