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After Islamic State defeat, broken Iraqi farmers weigh heavy losses

Tuesday, February 14, 2017 - 01:31

Islamic State militants have now been cleared off the land in Mosul in an Iraqi army offensive, but their reign of terror and mismanagement have devastated farmers and exacerbated the country's food security problem. Reuters Emily Wither reports.

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This is what's left of Sami Yuhanna's farm. Nineveh was Iraq's most productive farming region before the arrival of Islamic State, producing around 21 percent of the country's total wheat output, and 32 percent of barley. The militants may have been pushed out of this northern corner but the devastation they've left behind will remain for years. Seizing the country's agriculture heartland has ruined farmers and exacerbated the country's food security problem. Sami used to sell about 100 tonnes of wheat per year, now he lives in a small trailer and drives a taxi to barely survive. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) QARAQOSH FARMER, SAMI YUHANNA, SAYING: "How am I going to be able to rebuild this again? Our hope is that international organizations help us but as for the government, no, we don't have hope. If they want to compensate me, they will need to compensate a lot of people, all the way from Basra to Duhok.'' The militants also seized 1.1 million tonnes of wheat that was in government silos and sold 40 percent of agricultural machinery to raise money for their activities. Unexploded mines lie in the fields. Ensuring food security has consistently been one of the central government's biggest -- and most pressing -- challenges. But farmers say the government is not offering much hope to rebuild their businesses with most resources directed at driving the militants out of Mosul.

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After Islamic State defeat, broken Iraqi farmers weigh heavy losses

Tuesday, February 14, 2017 - 01:31