Erbil hosted a three-day agro-food fair, drawing attendees from 19 countries. Photo: Farzin Hassan/Rudaw
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – More than 100 companies from 19 countries took part in a three-day international agro-food fair in Erbil.
The majority of the companies at the fair were from Turkey, Iran, and Iraq. Organizers of the fair believe these companies can provide job opportunities in the Kurdistan Region where unemployment is high.
“Indeed, those companies who have displayed their commodities here may aim to establish a business foothold in Kurdistan and make investments as well. Through them job opportunities will be provided to the people,” said an organizer.
Despite an economic crisis that has gripped the region for nearly three years, participants at the fair expressed the belief that the risks of investment in the region are low as they foresee Kurdistan overcoming the financial crisis in the near future.
“We knew that the economic situation of Kurdistan is bad, but in six months the situation will improve,” said an Indian businessman. “If you make investments during the crisis, you will see benefits when the crisis is over.”
A businessman from Turkey said that his company had “sent commodities to Kurdistan in the past and we continue to do so since we believe the Iraqi market will soon develop.”
Though both participants and organizers of the fair were optimistic about the Kurdistan Region’s economic future, the fair was much smaller than previous years when 950 companies from 30 different countries attended.
The fair aimed to develop the Iraqi industry through exhibitions of specialized agriculture technology, food processing, and food packaging.
Since its inception since 2008, the event has become of one the leading trade shows in the country attracting hundreds of industry-related businesses, key decision makers and industry experts in addition to Kurdistan Regional Government and Iraqi central government officials.
“The Kurdistan Region has the ability to rapidly boost the economy and the presence of these companies here is to the benefit of the people as they help decrease prices and increase the quality of products,” said Nawzad Hadi, the governor of Erbil.
An estimated 12,000 people visited the fair.