Wednesday 5 October 2011


While we are working hard to improve agricultural output and obtain some form of self-sufficiency by ploughing money into the sector, endeavouring to raise public awareness, and at the same time, to avoid political propaganda we face an insidious foe that can prevent us achieving our goal. You may now well ask ‘What on earth does he mean?

Let me explain; few months ago I was watching a football match on a local Kurdish TV station, owned by a political party, when the adverts came on. The first advert showed a Kurdish wife making tomato paste when her husband comes home and berates her for not having a meal ready for him because she has been engrossed in the occupation of making the paste as her mother and grandmother had done. He tells his wife to stop wasting her time, shows her a can of tomato puree and says that in future she must buy this superior, imported product as it is better than Kurdish paste. This was immediately followed by a second advert showing a man trying to milk a Frisian cow and telling his friend what effort he puts into looking after the animal so he can have milk for his family. His friend tells him to stop wasting his time and use the imported, commercial product, yogurt is shown, which is better than the local products. The products advertised in these commercials were made in Turkey and Iran.

I have worked in countries, such as Egypt, where such advertisements that promote foreign products as being superior to that produced nationally are considered to be insulting and would never be allowed. Indeed many states would view it as treachery! Yet here these commercials are aired during peak viewing times! I wonder how many of you who have lived abroad have seen adverts that overtly criticise the local product and claim the imported product is superior.

Allowing such adverts to be televised or published in the media is very irresponsible. This damages our endeavours to promote local produce and wean the public from reliance on imports. Kurdish media should support the KRG agricultural efforts and not promote the produce of other nations in any way.

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