The Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) gave loans to almost 1,500 individual projects in 2011, reports AKnews.
Nuri Ismael, The Ministry's loans and marketing director, told the news agency that the agricultural banks in Sulaimaniya, Erbil, and Duhok provinces as well as Garmiyan area have given a total of 57.465 billion IQD (almost $49m) as loans to 1,498 projects.
The official did not provide any figures for comparison with the previous years.
Currently the maximum loan is 100 million IQD ($85,000 USD), to be repaid in installments, but Ismael added that the Ministry of Finance and Economics has decided to raise the maximum loan to 150m IQD ($127,500 USD).
"But we will try to issue new instructions for obtaining the loans so that more farmers can benefit from them," he added.
Agriculture Minister Jamil Suleiman told AKnews in December that the Ministry will hold a conference in January to reconsider and improve agricultural loans which in the past few years have boosted the sector.
At the conference, the minister added, agricultural directors and the director-generals of the agricultural banks will recommend more productive methods for boosting agriculture in the region by utilising these loans.
Three years ago the Ministry announced a five year strategic plan which aims at regional self-sufficiency in vegetables, grains, diary and meat by end of 2013.