TF Marne Soldiers present equipment to Iraqi farmers
January 14, 2010
<B>FORWARD OPERATING BASE MAREZ, Iraq </B>- Without rain, seeds and tractors, growing and cultivating crops would be almost impossible. Farmers in Sununi, Iraq, have been lacking these essentials - until now.
Task Force Marne Soldiers delivered new farm equipment to Ninewa province to make maintaining and producing plentiful crops easier, Dec. 22.
The Soldiers gave the farmers two large tractors as well as two mid-size combines.
Farming is an essential contributor to Sununi's economic success but has been rather hard for the workers due to a lack of farming supplies.
So in September, the Provincial Reconstruction Team in the area began planning to provide the farmers with as much support as possible.
Lieutenant Colonel Robert Bensburg, PRT, said his team was notified about the lack of functioning farm equipment in Sununi, as well as the rest of the Ninewa province, and they decided to lend the farmers a hand.
"Agriculture in the province of Ninewa, including Sununi, is approximately 80 percent of the economic base here," Lt. Col. Bensburg said. "It drives a lot of the economic development within this province. 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, 25th Infantry Division, helping the Sununi farmers is a big goal for the PRT, as well as Task Force Marne Soldiers.
"A lot of these farmers depend mainly on their crops for financial support," Capt. Genze said. "Lately, due to droughts, a large percentage of them have not been able to produce as much as they are normally accustomed to. 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."
Captain Genze added that the Sununi people are very independent and are striving for financial success in their area.
"Since we have been here, the people of Sununi have shown nothing but cooperation with us," he added.
"On both ends, we are doing everything in our power to continue building a great working relationship," he said. "We're helping the citizens as much as possible without making any dependencies. Hopefully, the equipment we gave them today will have a positive impact on their economic development."