During the event called “Pomegranate Festival,” Azad exhibited many crops and local fruits and vegetables, with the main attraction being pomegranates.
The event took place at the Shanadar Park in central Erbil.
“These products belong to all Kurds and Kurdistan,” Azad told Kurdistan 24.
“My goal is to encourage consumption of local produce” and “push youth to keep Kurdistan green.”
Azad had large amounts of pomegranates on display, which he brought from his farm in Halabja, which is famous for the quality and yield of the fruit.
He had also brought bottles of pomegranate molasses, a local favorite that is used in Kurdish cuisine.
In the past few years, farmers have repeatedly called on the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to block the flow of foreign products that are already produced or grown at home into the Kurdistan Region.
They argue they are capable of fulfilling the needs of the domestic demand.
“I call on the [KRG] to import seeds that are available in other countries and not in the Kurdistan Region” to help local farmers with their business.
He also reiterated calls on the KRG to incentivize the purchase of domestic products to contribute to a robust independent economy.
“I went to three advanced countries and brought 35 types of seeds,” he explained as he displayed zucchini yields from seeds he had purchased in Germany.
Just ahead of pomegranate season in early September, the KRG ministry of agriculture issued a temporary ban on imports of the fruit in preparation for a heightened supply surplus.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany