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MPs debate financial dues owed to Kurdistan's farmers

The Speaker of the Kurdistan Parliament Dr. Rewas Faiq on 30th January chaired the final sitting of the autumn session, at which MPs debated the financial dues owed to farmers in the Kurdistan Region. They also approved MP Ashna Abdullah Qadir’s (Change Movement) resignation from the Committee on Protection of Women’s Rights.

Deputy Speaker Hemin Hawrami, Secretary Muna Kahveci, the KRG Minister of Agriculture Begard Talabani and Minister of Trade and Industry Kamal Muslim also attended the sitting.

Debate on financial dues owed to farmers in the Kurdistan Region

Speaker Faiq opened the floor for the Agriculture and Trade committees’ members to give their views on the financial dues of the Kurdistan Region farmers. The Agriculture Committee chair, Mr. Abdulsatar Majeed (KIG), and vice-chair Mr. Shwan Zirari (KDP) demanded that payments owed to Kurdistan Region’s farmers should be one of the main negotiating topics in the KRG’s talks with Baghdad.

Mr. Majeed also stressed the need for the government to help farmers with inputs, crops production increase and marketing, as well as giving them the financial dues owed from 2014 to 2016, when Kurdistan was in a financial crisis.

The KRG Minister of Agriculture Begard Talabani said that the sitting was significant and she thanked the Speaker and the relevant committees for submitting their reports and questions. 

Minister Talabani added that the Ministry on 8 August 2019 submitted its full report to the KRG Council of Ministers about the obstacles to its work, so that the KRG can use the information in its negotiations with Baghdad. The Council of Ministers appreciated the report and took the necessary measures, Minister Talabani said.

When asked why the Iraqi Federal Government has been buying only low amounts of Kurdistan farmer’ production, Mrs. Talabani said that this issue is more about the political tensions in Iraq.

She called on the Iraqi Federal Government to buy crops from Kurdistan’s governorates at the same rate that they buy other Iraqi governorates’ production, without ethnic or political discrimination.

The KRG Minister of Trade and Industry Kamal Muslim said that securing the payments to farmers are among his ministry’s priorities, and the ministry submitted detailed reports to the cabinet on 25 July 2019. He also said that the financial dues owed to Kurdistan’s farmers is one of the points in the negotiations between Erbil and Baghdad.

Minister Muslim said over the last three years, the Iraqi government was willing to buy less than 50 percent of Kurdistan’s farmers’ crop production, which led to the low payments.

“We stress that buying Kurdistan’s crops must be at the same rate as for other Iraqi provinces.” Mr. Muslim said.

MPs gave their views on how to strengthen the agricultural sector and local production, and said that the KRG must fight for farmers’ payments by focusing on it in the Erbil-Baghdad negotiations.

The Speaker of Parliament assigned the relevant committees to record MPs’ proposals, taking into account the views of the ministers of agriculture and trade.

Change Movement MP resigns from the Committee on Protection of Women’s Rights

Speaker Faiq asked MPs to vote to approve MP Ashna Abdullah Qadir’s (Change) resignation from the Committee on Protection of Women’s Rights, and it was approved unanimously.

Parliament ends autumn session

Speaker Faiq announced the end of the autumn session of the first year of the Kurdistan Parliament’s fifth term, as per Article 18, paragraph 3 of Parliament’s Internal Rules of Procedure.