Poultry: A booming industry in Kurdistan Region
Kurdistan Region – The Kurdistan Region’s poultry industry has dramatically increased in the last five years, a direct consequence of the financial crisis. 

After the financial crisis hit in 2014, "a great number of people began establishing chicken farming projects, resulting in a dramatic increase of chicken production,” Haider Farhan, head of Kurdistan Region’s poultry industry high council, told Rudaw. 

With the crisis, Erbil could not sustain its bloated payroll and many people were forced to become less dependent on the government. Some turned to chicken farming. 

There are some 2,000 chicken farms in the Kurdistan Region, producing nearly 190 tons of meat annually, according to Farhan. 

Production has increased by 50 percent in the last five years, according to Ramazan Mohammed, head of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG)’s agriculture and water resources directorate. They have documented the opening of 338 new official poultry farms during that time plus about 300 unregistered ones. 

Iraq is the main buyer of Kurdistan’s chicken, making the market susceptible to up and down political relations. Kurdish businessmen have taken losses when the Iraqi government bans products from the Kurdistan Region.

Sherzad Hassan works as a middleman, buying live chickens from Kurdistan Region farmers and selling them to Iraqi clients. 

"Annually, Kurdistan Region’s businessmen and companies buy at least 100-130 thousand tons of live chickens from Kurdistan’s farms and send them to the rest of Iraq alive,” he explained. "If we set an average price of 2,000 dinars for each kilo, the trade is worth $216 million.”

Iraq imports chicken from 19 countries – the lion’s share coming from Turkey, Brazil, the USA, and Ukraine, according to official figures from the Ministry of Trade and Industry. 

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