most of Iraq's farms are in a bad state, says the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organisation ( fao ). The famous fertile fields of Mesopotamia's have been ruined due to international sanctions and government neglect.
A fao 's survey shows that harvests of vegetables and cereals have shrunk by over a third since 1990. Nearly 3,00,000 hectare of land has simply been abandoned because of the collapse of the irrigation system and the lack of pesticides. The number of livestock have fallen by 40 per cent, partly due to an epidemic of screw worm that had spread to two-thirds of Iraq's provinces by last year. Iraq had been importing nearly two-third of its food before the Gulf War.
However, after the war, it cannot pay for importing food items due to lack of oil revenue. Following several sanctions, the country cannot import spare parts, chemicals for fertilisers and pesticides and all manner of machinery to increase its agricultural growth. Because of this, the Iraqis have not been able to maintain food production, say the United Nations officials.