Soldiers present tractors, combines to Iraqi farmers
December 28, 2009
FORWARD OPERATING BASE MAREZ, Iraq (Army News Service, Dec. 28, 2009) -- Rain, seeds and tractors are important factors in a farmer's life. Without all of those, growing and cultivating crops would be out of the question.
The Soldiers of Task Force Marne made a trip Dec. 22, to Sununi to deliver new farm equipment to local farmers which should help them maintain and continue to produce plentiful crops.
The Soldiers gave the farmers two large tractors as well as two mid-size combines.
Because farming, a very essential contributor to Sununi's economic success, has been hard for the Sununi workers due to lack of farming supplies, the Provincial Reconstruction Team has been making plans since September to provide these farmers with as much support as possible.
Lt. Col. Robert Bensburg, PRT, said his team was notified about the lack of functioning farm equipment in Sununi, as well as the rest of Ninewa Province, and decided it would be beneficial to lend the farmers a hand.
"Agriculture in the province of Ninewa, including Sununi, is approximately 80 percent of the economic base here. It drives a lot of the economic development within this province," Bensburg said. "We thought it would make a very important contribution if we could support that industry by purchasing these tractors for them."
According to Capt. Brian Genze, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, helping the Sununi farmers is a big goal for the PRT and its Soldiers.
"A lot of these farmers depend mainly on their crops for financial support. Lately due to droughts, a large percentage of them have not been able to produce as much as they are normally accustomed to," said Genze. "The shortage of crops led to less money which forced a lot of the farmers to sell their tractors in order to provide for their family."
Genze also added the Sununi people are very independent and striving for financial success in their area.
"Since we have been here, the people of Sununi have shown nothing but cooperation with us. On both ends we are doing everything in our power to continue building a great working relationship," Genze said. "We're helping the citizens as much as possible without making any dependencies."