SOIL SALINITY AND AGRICULTURE IN IRAQ
I was invited to Iraq in the 1970s, there I visited Mosul, Sulaymaniyah and, of course, Baghdad, the capital. I met the then President Saddam Hussein. Iraq was largely a desert region but very good varieties of date palm were grown extensively. There were certain areas where there was water and they could grow good crops, but quite a lot was also under salinity. Wherever irrigation is given without due consideration of long-term effects, salts come up and the area becomes saline. I put the Iraqi agriculture department in touch with the Central Soil Salinity Research Institute at Karnal, Haryana. Due to the internal politics of the country, especially under the autocratic rule of Saddam Hussein, the progress in agriculture was not as much as I had hoped for. But my brief period of association, visiting different parts of Iraq, advising them what to do, and also the collaboration with them when I was in IRRI, was a very useful one. Because, in all these countries, whatever may be the politics, at the professional level, people were willing to cooperate and the government allowed them to do so.