As agriculture in Iraq grows and evolves, many farmers, packing house operators, wholesalers and food suppliers have questions about its future. They wonder whether produce will be sold in stalls or in supermarkets. They question the impact imported goods will have on Iraqi-raised products.
To facilitate discussions about the future of agriculture in Iraq, the USAID-Inma Agribusiness Program has hosted “Future of Marketing” forums around the country. Meetings in Erbil and Hilla, typical of many, drew nearly 150 participants in early 2011.
Looking into the future, business owners and farmers discussed their goals, potential constraints, and shared best practices.
In Erbil, hypermarket retailer Bruno Brassart told participants that suppliers need to understand consumers’ needs.
“We are here for business,” said Brassart, the keynote speaker. “So you have to get it right!” Brassart manages the Carrefour outlet in Erbil, the largest store in the governorate.
In Hilla, a panel of local businessmen and farmers called for better market research and government support of marketing efforts. Keynote speaker Khudair Al Emarah of the Euphrates Fish Farm emphasized the need for more communication. Through events like these, he said, both staple and niche markets will continue develop.
USAID-Inma helps link producers, distributors and retailers through industry meetings. These conferences teach farmers about consumer demand for diverse, high-quality goods. They create opportunities for stakeholders to form organizations and foster dialogue with government officials.
The success of these forums can be judged by the increasingly sophisticated level of discussions among suppliers and potential clients, and the growing number of deals that are made at these meetings, for the future supply of meat, fruit and vegetables.