Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Peasants demonstrate in Najaf

Peasants demonstrate in Najaf to demand
increase of purchase price of rice

Newsmatique / Najaf

Dozens of farmers and peasants in the province of Najaf took part today, Tuesday, in a peaceful demonstration to protest against their poor conditions and to demand more government support, particularly related to the purchase price of rice.
The demonstration started from the Al-Ishreen Square in the centre of the city and marched towards the provincial council building of Najaf. The protesters called for "an increase in the prices of agricultural crops, which the state buy from them at the end of the agricultural season every year," noting that "the prices are less than the real cost of production and therefore expose them to losses every season. "
The representative of the peasants' association in Najaf, Jabbar Hussein Khashan, said that "our demonstration is peaceful, to demand an increase in the purchase price of rice for this year."
Khashan added in an interview with Newsmatique that "the prices last year were at a reasonable level considering the cost of production and prices at the time. But they are no longer reasonable this year.”
He explained that "the price of a ton of seeds was 250 thousand Dinars last year, but has increased this year to 700 thousand Dinars. In addition, the Ministry of Agriculture has distributed poor fertilizers this year, thus forcing the peasant to buy fertilizers from the market at a price of 350 thousand Dinars per 100 grams."
Khashan said that "if there is no response to our demands, we will go to Baghdad and demonstrate outside the Council of Ministers."
A peasant, Thamer Falah Kadhim, criticized what he regarded as "the neglect of peasants by the state and the marginalization of their role." He urged the government "to consider the plight of peasants", some of whom "are unable to provide food for their children due to lack of financial returns of farming."

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