Iraqi Sweets, Ready for Take-off

A customer compares high-quality Iraqi foodstuffs at Baghdad International Airport. The duty-free store, featuring several USAID
A customer compares high-quality Iraqi foodstuffs at Baghdad International Airport. The duty-free store, featuring several USAID-Inma Agribusiness Program-supported products, is creating new export opportunities for Iraq.
The USAID-Inma program is actively providing opportunities for food producers in Iraq to meet key buyers in new and developing markets, so that relationships are developed and growers learn about which products consumers desire most, as well as which products command the best prices.

For the first time, travellers passing through Baghdad International Airport can pack a taste of Iraq in their carry-ons. The USAID-Inma Agribusiness Program has helped stock the duty-free shop with specialty food products from Iraq’s southern and central provinces.  These include orange blossom, alfalfa, eucalyptus, and jujube honeys, Basrah date snacks with nuts, and Anbar rice, said to be the fragrant grain preferred by former kings.

USAID-Inma has worked closely with the producers of Anbar rice, dates, and honey to meet international customers’ demands for quality goods and sturdy, attractive packaging.  The program introduced these growers to the ASK Group, retailers who offered great support and space in their duty-free shops in Iraqi airports.

More than 300 items were sold in one week when the food products were introduced to ASK Group’s duty-free shops in early 2011.The company immediately ordered additional stock and set up three additional displays. During the coming months, Iraqi specialty foods will debut in the country’s other duty-free shops.

"Marketing is simple.  It requirescommon sense, a bit of creativity, and a strategy to reach your customers," said Alexander Dahan, marketing specialist of the USAID-Inma Agribusiness program.  Mr. Dahan emphasized the importance of promoting brands as "Grown in Iraq" and “Produced in Iraq” to create new export opportunities.

USAID-Inma has provided considerable technical assistance to Iraqi producers to improve the quality and quantity of products available in the local market.  Recently, the programheld two agribusiness marketing forums in the cities of Erbil and Hilla.  They focused on modern marketing techniques and building linkages between suppliers and potential clients in a rapidly emerging retail environment.

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Last updated: September 05, 2013

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