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As many as 400 farmers are expected to use the new packing facility, which was built with a $459,000 grant in U.S. Agency for International Development money. By sorting and packaging the produce for sale, the farmers can sell the fruits and vegetables at different prices for different qualities.

As many as 400 farmers are expected to use the new packing facility, which was built with a $459,000 grant in U.S. Agency for International Development money. By sorting and packaging the produce for sale, the farmers can sell the fruits and vegetables at different prices for different qualities. (Teri Weaver / S&S)

As many as 400 farmers are expected to use the new packing facility, which was built with a $459,000 grant in U.S. Agency for International Development money. By sorting and packaging the produce for sale, the farmers can sell the fruits and vegetables at different prices for different qualities.

As many as 400 farmers are expected to use the new packing facility, which was built with a $459,000 grant in U.S. Agency for International Development money. By sorting and packaging the produce for sale, the farmers can sell the fruits and vegetables at different prices for different qualities. (Teri Weaver / S&S)

The Rabee Packing House, which opened Sunday, has about a dozen workers now. But it could employ as many as 50 people depending on business. The house is capable of processing up to 30 tons of produce a day.

The Rabee Packing House, which opened Sunday, has about a dozen workers now. But it could employ as many as 50 people depending on business. The house is capable of processing up to 30 tons of produce a day. (Teri Weaver / S&S)

BAGHDAD — A fruit-and-vegetable-sorting house with the potential to employ 50 people and process 30 tons of produce a day opened in Baghdad on Sunday.

The Rabee Packing House in the Adhamiyah neighborhood will allow as many as 400 local farmers to clean, sort and grade their produce before selling it.

By sorting the fruit by quality and size, the farmers will be able to charge higher prices for the higher quality foods, said Lt. Col. Scott Jackson, commander for the 1st Battalion, 5th Regiment, part of the 1st Cavalry Division.

"In the past, they’ve gotten pennies on the pound," Jackson said Sunday before the ceremony.

The packing house is a joint investment between a local sheikh and the U.S. Agency for International Development.

USAID, through an Iraqi agricultural organization called Inma, paid $459,000 toward the project, according to Hassam Boadam, Inma’s infrastructure manager for the project. Inma means "growth" in Arabic, Boadam said.

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