The displaced Arab families that came to work for him and tend his flocks made this possible, he says. However now that the displaced people are returning to their own homes elsewhere in Iraq, Karaman has had to hire a Kurdish family to do the same job – and they won’t work for as low a wage.
Often locals want more money or a share of the business, as well as accommodation and a daily allowance. “If I accept those conditions, I won’t make any profits at the end of the year,” Karaman admits.
And it is not just the Kurdish locals demanding more. Of the formerly displaced Arabs who remain, some are also now asking for more money as they have experience and skills and there is no longer such a surplus of job seekers. Often they are also supplementing their income with government aid and they no longer need to accept such low wages.
“The displaced people played an important role in Kurdish villages,” Shaker Yassin, head of the Office of Migration and Displacement in the Iraqi Kurdish Ministry of Interior, told NIQASH. “Many of them had experience and they were aged between 18 and 35 and willing to work for little. That’s why they had a positive impact on the local agricultural sector. Their departure is going to have a big impact on villagers because they really filled a hole in the labour market.”
(Photo: Sarchin Salih)