11 August 2023
Move will be beneficial to trade relations, says consul.
THE Kurdistan Region is set to export around 90% of its potato produce to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), in a move that the Emirati consul deemed beneficial to trade relations with Erbil.
Demand for Kurdish potato has grown in recent months, with several other Gulf states lining up to buy the starchy vegetable produced from the farms of the Kurdistan Region.
“Last year, we planted around 220 dunams of land and this year we have made it 253 dunams of land,” Hassan Mahdi, a farmer, told Rudaw’s Haydar Doski on Monday, stressing that farmers would be encouraged to plant more if the government makes certain facilitations.
A portion of the demand comes from McDonald's restaurants in the UAE.
Karim Sulaiman, deputy minister of agriculture and water resources told Rudaw that they had signed an agreement on Monday to export 5,000 tons of potatoes to the UAE in the coming days.
“Of course, if a well-known restaurant chain buys the potato, it means the quality of the potato is very good and reliable,” he added.
“The amount of the potato exported to the UAE will be around 80 to 90 percent, which is a sign that the UAE wants to have better trade relations with the Kurdistan Region's businessmen,” Ahmed Ibrahim al-Dhaheri, UAE’s consul general to Erbil, told Rudaw.
The Kurdistan Region is projected to produce 750,000 tons of potatoes in 2023, according to a statement from the KRG which added that the government is now taking measures to curb the import of potatoes from other countries.
A main objective of Prime Minister Masrour Barzani’s cabinet has been to diversify the Region’s economy and take advantage of its fruitful agricultural capabilities to export goods abroad, despite the majority of its agricultural products being imported from neighboring Iran and Turkey.
The Kurdistan Region in December made the first-ever export of its renowned pomegranates to Gulf countries, marking the Region's first non-oil export and a landmark step in efforts to broaden the economy.