An additional 13 agricultural silos are to be build in the Kurdistan Region by the end of 2013, lifting the storage capacity up to one million tons, said an official source on Sunday, as reported by AKnews.
Before Saddam Hussein’s fall in 2003, there were two silos in the region with a storage capacity of 32,000 tons. Later three new ones were constructed, increasing the capacity to 222,000 tons. Building new silos is expected to raise the production rate of grain in the region.
Aziz Ibrahim, the general director of Kurdistan’s Trade and Commerce Ministry, told AKnews that the KRG’s Agriculture and Water Resources ministry has funded a five-year project to build 16 silos from 2009 through to 2013.
In 2009 two silos were constructed in Erbil and Sulaimaniya, and one in Garmiyan area.
Ibrahim stated that the three structures, requiring an $88 million budget, can collectively store up to 100 thousand tons of grain.
Garmiyan area south of Sulaimaniya includes districts that were previously part of Kirkuk and Diyala provinces but were annexed to Sulaimaniya during the “Arabization” campaign under Saddam Hussein. The aim was to reduce the proportion of Kurds in Kirkuk and Diyala.
“In 2010, three silos are to be built, one in each of the three provinces in the Kurdistan Region. Over $88.8 million is allocated for their construction,” said Ibrahim.
“Construction of the remaining 10 silos should be completed by 2013. The cost of this is more than $214 million.”
Ibrahim said while the silos would have a storage capacity of around one million tons, currently only 450 thousand tons of grain is produced in the Region. He urged the government to support and persuade the farmers to raise their production rates.
For his part, Abdul-Hameed Abdullah, a director general in the Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources told AKnews "when the additional 13 silos are constructed we can raise our production level by 50 thousand tons.”
The total cost of the silos is estimated to be around $300 million; the construction will take place in collaboration with Kurdistan Regional Government’s Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources, said Aziz Ibrahim, general director of KRG’s Trade and Commerce Ministry.