Four university students, three girls, and a boy seek, through a joint project to raise turkeys, to translate what they learned at university into a project on the ground that will become a source that will generate profits for them in the future.
The students are studying in the final stage of the Department of Livestock at the Kifri Technical College, affiliated with Garmian Polytechnic University, and have launched their project in the Kifri District since January 20 of this year in cooperation with the Department of Livestock and with the support of a German organization.
“Raising turkeys correctly is one of the topics we studied at the university during the past four years... so we decided together to establish the project to work on it and at the same time conduct some studies on it,” according to Ala Kamal (21 years old).
Ala is one of the project's founders in cooperation with two other students who live in the Kifri and Kalar districts, as well as a young man from the same university who lives in Sulaymaniyah.
“The project was difficult at the beginning, because we did not have experience in how to raise turkeys, and this is the first time we have managed a project like this, but things have become easier now,” Ala says that a portion of the turkey chicks may die, so a project like this is not easy without the necessary information.
The project includes 100 Dutch and Syrian turkey chicks. The project's cost so far has reached 1.5 million Iraqi dinars (USD1,000), not to mention that some of the requirements were provided to them by Garmian University, such as the project location, water, and electricity.
Kifri, home to over 50,000 people, is one of the districts located within the disputed territories, part of Diyala province run by the Iraqi government, while administratively is one of the districts of the Garmian administration.
Garmian local administration which includes several districts and sub-districts between Sulaymaniyah and Diyala province is part of Sulaymaniyah Northern Province, one of the provinces of Kurdistan Region of Iraq KRI under the Kurdistan Regional Government KRG.
Shayesta Adalat (21 years old), one of the students participating in the project, told KirkukNow, “I want to rely on myself and have my income. However, raising turkeys was part of our university studies and we learned it there.”
At the beginning of the project, they had to observe for 24 hours before they learned well the methods of monitoring and raising turkeys.
“It was difficult work for us because we had to study at the university and manage the project at the same time,” Shayesta says. “Things have become easier now and intend to expand the project and provide job opportunities for others.”
What distinguishes the project from others is that the four university students produce the fodder themselves and do not buy it, with the help of one of the university professors, in addition to completing other tasks such as regulating temperature, humidity, watering, and cleaning the turkey breeding field.
“We give feed to the turkey chicks daily, so we produce the necessary amount of feed a week in advance,” Ala said.
Kifri district, which dates back to nearly two hundred years ago, is one of the historical towns on the western side of Bawshaswar Peak, an extension of the mountain range that starts from Kirkuk, 120 km southeast of Kirkuk, and is separated from Diyala Province to the south by the Hamrin Mountain Range.
The demand for turkey meat increases in winter, especially those that weigh between four to ten kilograms. It takes more than four months for a turkey to grow to reach that desired weight.
“The turkeys we raise are still small and their price depends on the timing of their marketing, but we expect to make a profit from the project,” Ala added.
The project founders are waiting for their production to reach the appropriate weight for marketing in the period from May to June.
The price of one kilogram of female turkey meat is 9,000 IQD and the male is 12,000.
Shayesta says that the project is important to the Kifri district and represents a source of income for them. The project founders intend to expand the project if the necessary support is available and keep working on it.
"We need a larger place and financial support because our goal is to produce high-quality meat without the use of chemicals," Ala says.