The ministry confirmed that the reason for the investments not to proceed is the lack of water (AFP)</p><div><p>Today, Sunday, the Iraqi Minister of Agriculture Muhammad Karim said that the Saudi side decided not to proceed with its offer to invest Iraqi agricultural lands in Anbar and Muthanna, for reasons related to water.<br/>"The Saudi side had an intention to invest in Iraq in the field of agriculture, as there was planning to invest in the Western Desert and the governorates of Muthanna and Najaf, by 400 thousand dunams in Muthanna and 600 thousand dunums," Karim said in a press briefing carried by local Iraqi media. In Najaf, and about 700 thousand dunams in Anbar, we have prepared up to one million and 700 thousand dunams as the Ministry of Agriculture to be invested by the Saudi side. "
He added, “A working group has been formed for this purpose, and we have allocated about 6 million dunams in the name of the Ministry of Finance, which are lands considered pastures and no one has reached them. We asked the Ministry of Water Resources to find out whether the land is suitable for investment or not.”
He pointed out that “the Saudi side intends to establish major cattle stations, and these stations need water permanence of no less than 50 years, as it will put a capital of more than one billion dollars for each station, but the Ministry of Water Resources did not have a water storage of this size,” It turns out that the water storage does not exceed five years only. ”
He continued, “The issue of investment in Western Sahara has become postponed at the present time, and we were not able to reach a conclusion with the Saudi side due to the lack of sustainability in water for more than 10 years,” noting that “if this investment project was achieved with Saudi Arabia, it would have achieved large production, especially.” Al-Muthanna Governorate is due to the fact that it does not have oil resources, customs outlets, and only agriculture.
He pointed out that “investment in the city of Samawah is a promising project, but not in the areas required by the Saudi side, and thus we did not reach an agreement with the Saudi side for this type of investment.”
Earlier today, Sunday, a senior Iraqi official in Baghdad confirmed to Al-Arabi Al-Jadeed that the plans to invest about one million hectares in the Iraqi agricultural sector in the Anbar and Samawah valleys in western and southern Iraq, which were submitted by the Saudi authorities to the Baghdad government, had been canceled for reasons that the official described as multiple. .
This comes after nearly two weeks of an organized campaign led by armed militias and pro-Iranian parties in Iraq, most notably the militia of “al-Nujaba”, “Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq” and “Hezbollah Brigades”, as well as the “Al-Fateh” and “State of Law” coalitions, led by Hadi Al-Ameri And Nuri al-Maliki, to reject the Saudi investment scheme.
Last Sunday, the Iraqi government pledged to remove obstacles to the entry of Saudi investment companies into the country.
Iraq and Saudi Arabia had formed a special committee between the two countries last July, with the aim of discussing economic and investment files.