Kirkuk: wheat and barley crops damaged by heavy rainfalls and hailstones

Kirkuk, two farmers in Shwan sub-district disappointedly look at their damaged wheat crops, May 7, 2020. Photo: Soran Mohammed

Soran Mohammed- Kirkuk

Thousands of donums of wheat and barley crops were damaged by heavy rainfalls and hailstorms in Kirkuk, while the majority of the farmers have rented the agricultural lands and are yet to pay for the wheat seeds.

On the Afternoon of May 6th, a wave of hailstorms and rainfalls hit Altun Kupri, Qarahanjir, Hassar, and other areas in east and north eastern of Kirkuk, significantly damaging agricultural farms including wheat and barley crops.

Hogr Salim, a farmer in Hassar village, told KirkukNow that, “it was a heavy rain and hailstorm, it hit our crops, it damaged over a thousand and 500 donums (each donum is 2,500 square meters) of wheat crops in our village.”

“There are famers who have not yet paid for the cultivation of the land, wheat seeds, and the fertilizers,” Salim said.

He requested the Iraqi government as well as the regional government to offer compensations.

Rawf Star, a farmer and the commissioner Dubzni village in the Shwan sub district, said that, “the problem was that the hailstones hit the wheat flowers, which flattened the crops.”

Meanwhile, it was the harvesting season as the crops had reached their final stages of growth. The enforcement of a curfew aimed at preventing the spread of coronavirus was a barrier to the farmer to harvest their products, Star said.


Kirkuk, a wheat flower damaged by hailstones and heavy rainfall, May 7th, 2020. Photo: Soran Mohammed 

Kirkuk province possess fertile lands for agriculture, in which at least a million and 500 thousand donums are planted with wheats and barley.

Annually, 900 thousands donums of the agricultural land is planted with wheat, according to a data published by the agriculture directorate in Kirkuk.

Ahlam Fakhradin, deputy head of agriculture directorate, told KirkukNow, “the damage of hailstone this year is greater, but the entire loss has been estimated generally due to the enforced curfew.”

Fakhradin revealed that a committee will visit the fields to estimate the damages.

“Now it is the season when wheat and barley flowers dry,” she added without indicating if her directorate will compensate the farmers or not.

Rawf Star concluded that, “there are famers who have nearly lost all his farms and have been waiting for the blessing of god.”

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