“These people are basically acting like thieves but using religion to justify themselves and the power of the sword to make us obey. They told us that if we don't give them a share of our production we will be killed,” al-Fattah noted.
And while the IS group is only able to justify collecting a percentage of the harvest from Muslim farmers, it is taking all of the harvest from properties owned by former residents who might have been Shiite Muslims or Christians and who were forced to flee.
“Farmers here have two choices,” a local businessman who works in agriculture told NIQASH on condition of anonymity. “They can either deliver their harvest to silos managed by the IS group or they can sell it to one of a small handful of grain merchants. This has led to a steep decrease in grain prices. Prices for a ton of wheat or barley are about half of what they were last year.”
Some merchants are buying up the grain and storing it, in the hopes of making a bigger profit later on.
The IS group's own grain silos, formerly the property of the Iraqi government but now under IS control, are becoming full already, even though the harvest is smaller this year, local farmers say.