UAE consumers will now be able to buy pomegranates grown in Iraq’s Kurdistan Region. Hanar pomegranates, the Kurdistan Regional Government's most famous fruit, have hit the shelves of UAE retailers Lulu and Carrefour.

The fruit will be exported from nearly 100 farms in Halabja and Zakho to the UAE where they will be re-exported to other Gulf states such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait, said Jaleel Salihi, senior analyst at Prime Minister Masrour Barzani's office. It is the first and largest non-oil export initiative, enabled by much hard work and diplomatic initiatives between leaders of the KRG and the UAE.

“Pomegranates from Halabja and Zakho “have an advantage and are in global demand because they are free of chemical fertilisers and pesticides,” Jaleel Salihi said. “So they are naturally grown.”

Pomegranates at a Lulu's in Dubai. / Image: Kurdistan Regional Government

Kurdistan's premium grade pomegranates are hitting supermarkets across the Gulf; more than 500 tons have already been exported and the KRG is now looking to expand to Europe. The exports to the UAE are estimated to be about worth about $1 million in the first phase and to reach $4 million by 2023.