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WikiLeaks: 2007-08-26: 07BAGHDAD2860: Ninewa: PRT Supports Farmers' Association in Multi-sectarian Bartallah

by WikiLeaks. 07BAGHDAD2860: August 26, 2007.

Posted: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 at 06:06 PM UT


Viewing cable 07BAGHDAD2860, NINEWA: PRT SUPPORTS FARMERS' ASSOCIATION IN

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07BAGHDAD2860 2007-08-26 10:44 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Baghdad
VZCZCXRO0174
RR RUEHBC RUEHDA RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUEHGB #2860/01 2381044
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 261044Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3021
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE
RUEHRC/DEPT OF AGRICULTURE WASHDC
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BAGHDAD 002860 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
SENSITIVE 
 
USDA/FAS/OCBD/DRDAD FOR VWOLF, USDA/FAS/OFSO FOR RVERDONK 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: ECON EAID EAGR PHUM PGOV KDEM IZ
SUBJECT: NINEWA: PRT SUPPORTS FARMERS' ASSOCIATION IN 
MULTI-SECTARIAN BARTALLAH 
 
REF: BAGHDAD 2782 
 
1. This is a Ninewa Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) 
message. 
 
2. (SBU) Begin Summary: Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) 
Ninewa is supporting the formation of grassroots farmers' 
organizations in the religiously and ethnically diverse towns 
of Bartallah & Al Qosh in northeastern Ninewa Province. 
Acting as the nascent institutions' organizational lynchpin, 
the PRT is helping to establish the managerial, financial and 
legal groundwork for farmers in these towns to address common 
agri-business problems of input procurement, land use, 
marketing and product processing.  Based on input from these 
communities that commercial incentives provide a neutral zone 
of daily interaction and mutual cooperation that can override 
sectarian rivalry, the PRT has already facilitated meetings 
among farmers from both towns who are interested in working 
together.  PRT is looking broadly at the potential for 
farmers' associations in other parts of the province as well. 
End Summary. 
 
FARMERS TAKE A FIRST STEP 
------------------------- 
 
3. (SBU) Bartallah farmers from both the Muslim Shabak and 
Assyrian Christian communities met with the PRT on August 15 
to explore the managerial issues of creating an organization 
that is capable of addressing their shared needs to obtain 
seed, fertilizer and water, to schedule land use and to 
identify markets for their vegetable and cereal products. 
The meeting was significant in that it included both Shabak, 
a minority Shi'a Muslim sect, and Assyrian Christians, a 
minority group in Iraq as a whole.  Recently, the two groups 
have engaged in a low-level of sometimes violent 
confrontation and political rhetoric over land ownership and 
cultural assimilation in the rich farmland east of Mosul 
(reftel).  The two groups committed at the meeting to 
identifying names of farmers interested in working together 
on the farmers' association. 
 
4. (SBU) The PRT also met in nearby Al Qosh on August 16 with 
a budding farmers' organization of Sunni Turkmen, Shi'a 
Shabak, Sunni Arabs, and Assyrian and Armenian Christians. 
That diverse group similarly committed itself to exploring 
common solutions to agri-business problems through a 
multi-sectarian institution.  The PRT assists the nascent 
organizations in both towns through close coordination with 
key local government offices.  Incoming Ninewa Director 
General (DG) of Agriculture Dr. Abdulsatar Asmeer Alrigbo 
welcomed the idea of farmers' associations, listing several 
ways in which one might be organized, such as a cooperative, 
nongovernmental organization or union. 
 
COMBINING LOCAL AND OUTSIDE FINANCING 
------------------------------------- 
 
5. (SBU) The PRT is reviewing possible investment sources. 
Notably, the farmers themselves -- from all sects -- offered 
to stake some of their own funds in these institutions. 
While that amount would encourage local buy-in and 
confidence-building, the bulk of investment in the 
associations will likely come from outside banks, including 
some that already work with local businessmen, as well as 
donor resources like USAID-funded agri-business, 
micro-finance and business-support programs. 
 
IDENTIFYING AND EXPANDING MARKETS 
--------------------------------- 
 
6. (SBU) Beyond organizational structure and financial 
support, the PRT is looking into how the farmers' 
organizations will process and market their products to 
maintain sustainability and increase profits.  The DG of 
Agriculture, an Armenian Christian and a prominent Assyrian 
Christian businessman each separately expressed interest in 
developing profitable downstream agricultural processing 
factories with a wide, possibly cross-sectarian, ownership. 
While the PRT is searching for the best financial instrument 
for the potential multimillion dollar fruit and vegetable 
processing plant these individuals are considering, the Iraqi 
Middle Market Development Initiative, funded by the Overseas 
Private Investment Corporation, appears the most promising 
candidate. 
 
COMMENT: AN ECONOMIC SOLUTION 
----------------------------- 
 
 
BAGHDAD 00002860  002 OF 002 
 
 
7. (SBU) The willingness of grassroots farmers from across 
the ethnic and religious spectrum to identify shared 
commercial interests and explore common solutions through 
civil society institutions offers promise for long-term 
reconciliation in Bartallah and Al Qosh.  Nonetheless, 
tensions and distrust between members and political leaders 
of the many sects involved are real and could threaten to 
derail any cross-sectarian project (reftel).  Further, the 
success of the farmers' organizations will depend on 
continued Ministry of Agriculture support as well as the 
identification of financing sources and profitable downstream 
markets, issues that the PRT is now working to resolve. End 
Comment. 
 
CROCKER

 



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