SHARAZUR, Kurdistan Region – Farmers in the Sharazur district of Sulaimani have leased large portions of their farmlands to the Sharazur tomato paste factory.
“The money we receive from them is much more than the incomes we could gain from the land. In addition, job opportunities are created for hundreds of our farmers,” said farmer Saywan Ali.
The factory, in operation for a year, employs 300 people and fills 20 percent of the Region’s tomato paste market.
Sharazur plans to develop its operations, growing its own tomatoes, increasing production, and starting to make grape and pomegranate juices.
It says it faces tough competition from products made in neighbouring countries where governments support their domestic industries. Sharazur has asked the Kurdistan Regional Government for help on two issues.
“First, there is a yearly rent imposed on us which is almost 46,000,000 IQD. We thank them if they can lift it or reduce it to 5,000,000 IQD. This is our first demand. Our second demand is to provide crude oil,” said Jasim Mohammed, supervisor of Sharazur tomato paste factory.