Children look at flowers at a nursery in the Kurdistan Region. File photo: Rudaw
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — The improving economy in the Kurdistan Region and the end of ISIS conflict has paved the way for businessmen to import more plants as demand has risen.
“Due to stability, the improvement of financial status and an increase in people’s awareness level, businessmen import about 7-10 million plants to the Kurdistan Region in addition to local production,” Hussein Hamakarim, head of Kurdistan Region’s Planting and Forests General Directorate, told Rudaw.
He added a considerable amount of these plants are later sent elsewhere in Iraq.
The number was 4.5 million in 2013 and even worse a year later when ISIS took control of some Iraqi areas, as people in the Kurdistan Region were focused on the conflict.
The Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources has 32 nurseries, producing nearly 5 million plants annually.
Hamakarim said that the government has supported the nurseries by providing them with discounted prices or even free plants.
Some small initiatives have been undertaken in the Kurdistan Region to make it literally greener with more flora. However, climate change and the damming of rivers by Iran and Turkey have hindered the process.
In some areas, forest park rangers joined the Peshmerga during the ISIS conflict, leading Kurdistan’s forests unprotected. Many people used lax enforcement to harvest trees in a region where mudslides are a regular occurrence during the rainy seasons.
The Kurdistan Region’s economy is heavily dependent upon its oil industry. The government has announced plans to diversify the economy through gas, tourism, and imports.
The only land crossing into Iraq is at the Kurdistan Region’s Ibrahim Khalil crossing. It connects Sirnak in Turkey with Zakho.
Because of conflict in Syria, the route is also the primary land bridge between Europe and Iraq.
Reporting by Rawa Abdullah