Despite mounting violence, Diyala Province reaps bumper harvest

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By Salam Abdulshammari

Azzaman, June 10, 2014

Farmers in the restive Province of Diyala have shipped 180,000 tons of wheat so far to government silos, Abdulqhaliq al-Azzawi of the provincial agricultural council said.

Azzawi said the province was on its way to achieve a record harvest with farmers harvesting more than a quarter of a million tons of wheat this year.

“The government silos have already received 180,000 tons of wheat from Diyala farmers and the total volume is expected to reach 260,000 tons this year,” Azzawi said.

Diyala, of which Baaquba is the provincial capital, is battling the Iraq-based Jihadist group of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) whose militants on Tuesday overrun Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city.

The government has reinforced its troops in the province, particularly in Baaquba, which ISIS has vowed to attack.

Azzawi said despite mounting violence, the harvest process was going on smoothly and no fires have or disruption of deliveries to government silos has been reported.

However, he said, the province was in need of three more silos to handle the flow of wheat from farmers.

Iraq hopes this year’s harvest will meet its domestic needs for wheat estimated at more than 4 million tons a year.