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USGC Helps Iraqi Poultry Industry to Grow

by 5m Editor
10 May 2010, at 9:22am

IRAQ - The US Grains Council (USGC) is helping to stimulate poultry growth in Iraq with a credit guarantee programme.

After years of devastation from the 1989 and 2003 Gulf Wars, Iraq's poultry industry is starting to undergo a revival, and local banks have actively begun to expand business with Iraqi companies. This new interest by bankers gives a boost to the credit guarantee program offered by the US Grains Council.

The programme, formulated in 2005 as a Food for Progress project, is designed to encourage Iraqi banks to become involved in the business of financing agricultural imports, thus lowering the cost of those loans, making essential poultry feed ingredients more available and less expensive in Iraq and thereby stimulating poultry production. The idea was to share with a lending bank the risk of a qualified loan.

Until now, Iraqi banks have been slow to take advantage of this programme. According to Erick Erickson, USGC special assistant for planning, evaluation and projects, and Chris Corry, USGC senior director of international operations, interest is finally starting to pick up. Mr Erickson and Mr Corry travelled to Amman in Jordan recently to promote the credit guarantee programme, and learned that the two Iraqi banks participating in the programme are now cultivating closer business ties with trading and poultry production companies and consider the loan guarantee programme an important part of the array of banking services they can offer.

Mr Erickson said: "We recognised that our efforts over the past several years have been ahead of their time, but now things are falling into place. Banks themselves are ready to promote our credit guarantee program as part of the package of services they can provide Iraqi poultry companies. At last, the banks themselves will drive the future of our programme."

There is a new sense of optimism among the businessmen Mr Erickson and Mr Corry met. One participant in particular observed that the poultry industry in Iraq is poised to grow rapidly within the next two years, and some of the Council's other partners noted that the credit program may be too small to meet the future demand.