I like to think I’m getting locally grown produce at the farmers markets here in Ranya, but much of the produce is in fact imported. Globalization means that the bananas we eat here are from Costa Rica – though any banana you will eat, no matter where in the world you are, has a high chance of originating in Costa Rica. A lot of the fruits and vegetables available in the bazaars and at the numerous veg stands are also imports from Turkey or Iran. Well, at least the ones on display are. Every time I go to buy fruits & veg, and start to sort through a crate on display, the fruit vendor will stop me and lead me to the back where he keeps the best selection. He’ll say, “oh those potatoes are from Iran. You don’t want those. Here, take the Kurdish ones.” Well, that’s how I interpret the pantomime interspersed with a few key words.
It’s a shame really, that so much of the produce is imported. The agricultural sector in Kurdistan has largely been neglected in favor of oil production, though Kurdistan is fully capable – in terms of labor and available land and water – of achieving self-sufficient food production.
But hey, at least there are still fresh pomegranates and lemons picked straight from the nearby mountains.