Reclaiming Desertlands: Imam Hussain Agricultural City

Imam Hussain Agricultural City

The agricultural city of Imam Hussain, locally named “Madinat-uz-Zarayat al-Imam Hussain” is a vast land in the city of Karbala, covering an area of 1000 donums, which equates to 250 hectares, allocated for the production of agricultural and feed crops, as well as raising livestock such as cows and sheep. 

Equipped with the latest technology, this project is one of the most important production projects sponsored by the Holy Shrine of Imam Hussain.

Combatting the rising desertification

This and other such agricultural projects operate under the Agricultural Development Department of the Holy Shrine, which seeks to reclaim uncultivated land and combat desertification by establishing agricultural cities in desert areas.

However, reclaiming desert lands is not an easy task. Mr Adnan Oz al-Shammari, the current head of the Agricultural Development Department, said that in the first phase, the agricultural land is selected by analyzing soil samples in a laboratory to identify the important elements contained in it to ensure the safety and abundance of crop production.

In the second phase, the land is deeply ploughed and provided with a source of sufficient water to irrigate. Thereafter, the cultivation of selected crops begins.

The deputy director of the project, and an agricultural engineer himself, Mohammed Isa al-Hashimi said that they replaced the old soil with new soil in order to eliminate pests and fungal diseases.

They have built a nursery to grow superior quality cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers and eggplants. The plants are treated with organic fertilizers and pesticides.

The livestock farm, which is spread over an area of 150 hectares, contains several types of cows and sheep that are fed with highly concentrated natural feed. The livestock farm contributes significantly to the provision of meat due to the high demand for its sheep.

The administration aspires to establish a centre for agrarian research and studies within the agricultural city where university students can conduct scientific research.

The agricultural city has been providing superior and affordable vegetables, grains, meat and dairy products to the local market for several years, and plans to increase its reach.

The Imam Hussain Holy Shrine is continuously working to support Iraq’s economy, seeking to minimize imports through its various agricultural projects, including the Sayyid ash-Shuhada Farm project and the Abil-Ahrar Agricultural City project – both these projects are much larger in comparison to the Imam Hussain Agricultural City.

Other Projects

Abil Ahrar Agricultural City

It is established on an area of 1375 hectares and is located on the road that connects the two holy cities of Karbala and Najaf. It is primarily used for growing food crops such as maize, barley, wheat, and feed crops.

The feed supplied to sheep and cows through this land is more than 15 tons (of green crops), having an approximate cost of 1.5 million per day. 

A huge area of this farmland consists of fruit orchards that produce a variety of winter and summer fruits, mainly apples, figs, red and yellow pears.

Sayyid ash-Shuhda Agricultural City

This is by far the largest agricultural project of the Holy Shrine of Imam Hussain, it is spread over an area of 5250 hectares. It produces a major amount of wheat which is supplied to the local markets, but its full potential hasn’t been realized yet.

However, the Shrine’s Agricultural Development Department has plans to increase the cultivable land and the yield of this agricultural city in the near future.

It is expected that this promising project will contribute greatly to Iraq’s local economy, as its products will suffice the demand of the markets in Karbala and its surrounding cities.

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