Grain storage capacity to exceed a million tons by 2020
KRG implements food security strategies
According to the strategic plan of the Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources of Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) within the coming seven years Erbil Province will own eight grain storage silos with a capacity of 400,000 tons, Silemani will have six silos with a combined capacity of 280,000 tons of grains, while Duhok Province will have three silos that can store 120 thousand tons of grain.
This means that by 2020 Kurdistan Region will have a capacity of storing 1 million tons of grain.
One of the key points in food security, according to the Strategic Plan of the Agriculture Ministry, in addition to food production, is storing strategic food supplies.
According to Swar Aziz, Director General of Planning and FollowUp at the Agriculture Ministry, such foodstuff have a vital role in supplying daily food and during crisis times or natural accidents, can save the people from disaster. “In Kurdistan, wheat, barley and rice are counted as strategic food items,” Aziz told the Globe. “Hence storing them is a responsibility of the government as set forth in the strategic plan of the Ministry of Trade and Industry.”
Majority of the agricultural lands all over the Region are dedicated to planting wheat and barley every year. The production rate of these grains vary based on the amount of raining and weather situations. What has been realized over the past few years is that Kurdistan Region does not have enough capacity in storing the entire grain production in the region.
According to the plan, the current annual demand for grains in Kurdistan is 600 thousand tons, while the storage capacity of the region is only 275 thousand tons. The plan predicts that the capacity would grow to reach 675 thousand tons by 2014. Moreover, according to the plans of the ministry of trade and industry 11 new silos should be built between the years 2015 and 2020.
If all these silos are built, the total storage capacity will reach 1,115,000 tons by the end of 2020.
In addition to wheat demand, the region’s annual demand for rice and barely is currently 300 thousand tons, which is supplied either through imports or production. To be able to store amounts for at least six months, the government should build warehouses with sufficient capacities.
The existing silos in Erbil are two silos with a combined capacity of 160 thousand tons by end of 2013; while Duhok’s three silos can only store 115 thousand tons. Hence the total capacity is 275 thousand tons. However, currently there are no silos in Silemani Province.
Three silo projects have been approved last year for Silemani with a total capacity of 160 thousand tons, another two silos in Garmian with 80 thousand ton capacity. Moreover, two silos will also be built in Erbil and Duhok with capacity of 40 thousand tons each.
Hence the total projected added capacity will be 320 thousand tons. The other silos to be built between 2015 and 2020 include 4 in Erbil, 2 in Suleimaniya, 2 in Garmian and 3 in Duhok with 40 thousand ton capacity each. This will add another 440 thousand tons capacity by end of 2020 according to the strategic plan. It means that in addition to the existing silos the KRG should allocate funds for the new silo projects.