The Iraqi Ministry of Agriculture has announced an unexpected halt on all imports of oranges that will go into effect the following morning to compensate for an overabundance of locally-produced supply.
Ministry spokesman Hamid Nayef said in a statement that officials had decided to stop the import of the popular citrus fruit through all border crossings to "protect the local product on one side and ... the consumer on the other."
What the ministry meant by 'protecting the consumer' remains unclear, as restricting the import of a product would like increase the prices. Iraqi oranges are already known for their higher prices when compared to Iranian or Turkish imports. The contrast is even greater in the Kurdistan Region since their price is compounded by additional transportation costs.
The decision was initiated after a letter by the Economic Affairs Committee of the Council of Ministers, which stipulated that the goods covered by the ban should not be allowed to enter according to the crop calendar, suggesting the move would only be temporary.
Merchants in the process of importing oranges have 10 days to bring in supplies that are presumably already on their way to Iraq.
The Ministry of Agriculture called on all border posts to strictly adhere to the resolution. It was not specified whether the decision will apply to the border crossings of the Kurdistan Region.