In the Ninawa province, the biggest poultry infrastructure in northern Iraq, more than 60% of poultry farms have been forced to close, according to according to Iraqi news agency Niqash.
In addition to rising production costs, the Iraqi poultry industry competes with cheaper and more consistently priced imports. Al-Jazaer merchants said that the price of local chicken ranges between $2,500 and $3,000 per ton, while the price of imported Brazilian chicken is $1,650 per ton.
Lack of government subsidies has also hit the poultry industry hard. Prior to 2003, the Ministry of Agriculture provided farmers with subsidized chicks, feed, medicine, vaccines and fuel. However, many of these subsidies have been cut.
"The lifting of government subsidies, without any prior warning, has paralyzed this sector and led many poultry farms to bankruptcy," said Amer Fathi, an agricultural engineer.
The entire local industry could be wiped away unless new measures are introduced, according to agricultural experts.