By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tami Hillis
American Forces Press Service
Nov. 25, 2008 - Construction of the Central Euphrates Farmers Market, scheduled to open in Iraq's Babil province by the end of the year, is proceeding ahead of schedule, officials said. The $3.2 million market, funded through the Commander's Emergency Response Program, will provide a central location for farmers in the northern part of the province to sell their produce.
The complex will include the main market building, which will house 31 vendor stalls and a rest area. Compressors and thermostats will maintain a proper temperature in cold-storage units being built from bricks, reinforced concrete and insulation materials. Support unit facilities will include a meeting and training room, rest rooms, guard houses, a supply room and a truck driving room. The parking lot will accommodate 120 vehicles in addition to 10 reserved spaces.
The leaders of the agriculture associations in Jiff Jaffa, Haq, Muelha and Diyarah are responsible for bringing the idea of the project to life, officials said.
When construction is complete, the facility will be owned, operated and maintained by the four agricultural associations. The associations bought the land for the complex, enabling them to become a certified nongovernmental organization. The organization will form a management board to manage and operate the complex.
"When this market and agricultural center complex is completed, it will benefit all of the citizens of this area," said Army Col. Thomas James, commander of the 3rd Infantry Division's 4th Brigade Combat Team. "The building of this facility will stimulate economic activity in a peaceful and secure environment that has been created by the Iraqi security forces and civilian leaders who were tired of violence and insecurity."
(Army Sgt. 1st Class Tami Hillis serves with the 3rd Infantry Division's 4th Brigade Combat Team.)