Since our last article on green entrepreneurship in Iraq, we wanted to introduce you to another three amazing green initiatives focused on sustainability in Iraq. Can you tell we’re fans? From advice on plant care to pollinating palm trees, these Iraqi projects are helping tackle the wider pollution and climate change crisis in the country and globally.
Nakhla is the first startup of its kind in Iraq. Named after the Arabic word for ‘palm tree’, Nakhla offers a number of services such as planting, pollination, pruning, harvesting and pest control for your palm tree.
Founded in 2016, Nakhla’s goal is to reclaim Iraq’s historic label of being the “land of blackness”, due to its dense palm tree scenery – whose sight in the horizon would look black. The idea of the business started with the realisation that many Iraqis want to plant palm trees, but the aftercare was severely lacking. Instead of randomly planting palm trees, Nakhla was born to take the responsibility of maintaining existing palm trees.
To date, the team has worked on more than 2100 dates palms between Baghdad and Diwaniyah governorate. The startup’s aim is to combat desertification in Iraq and encourage afforestation.
Their palm tree services are offered on a personal and commercial basis from houses to streets and institutions. Nakhla’s services include anything that helps palm trees grow such as planting, pollination, pruning, harvesting and pest control. Customers can opt for an annual subscription which works out to less than the annual average cost of maintaining one palm tree, and Nakhla will also take a percentage on the yield of the palm’s dates.
Nakhla also offer customers the opportunity to have their dates cleaned and packed so that they are ready for consumption when being sold in the market.
Shatlaty is a purpose-driven, non-profit organisation (NPO) founded in 2019. The NPO provides information and knowledge on how to protect and develop the environment and plants in Iraq. Through systematic work, Shatlaty has helped and resolved more than 10,000 environmental cases of plants.
A search engine for plant care tips and advice, Shatlaty lets you type in the name of that new plant you bought but have no idea how to water, and receive details on the sunlight needed, water, optimum temperate for growth and care, as well as the best times to plant it if you’re sowing seeds. Shatlaty also offers a range of pest control advice, fertilisers and gardening tools. With the aim of helping and encouraging individual plant carers to babysit their greens well, Shatlaty contributes to encouraging and strengthening a gardening culture in Iraqi households.
3. Plant Touch
An interior design initiative with a sustainability twist, Plant Touch creates green designs and statement pieces for homes, businesses and retailers. The startup creates designs for gardens and balcony spaces, as well as providing tailored advice and tips on protecting gardens and plants in the hot summer months. Plant Touch specialises in the care of silhouette plants, with the aim of encouraging their purchase and care to combat the increase in desertification.
To foster a truly sustainable culture in Iraq, current societal behaviours that are detrimental to the environment need to be changed and green initiatives need to climb the ranks to be prioritised for support. What is promising is that where infrastructure and governmental institutions are lacking, startups and initiatives are helping spread an awareness of sustainability and climate change, bottom-up. Combining services such as interior design with an emphasis on sustainability is one way to generate long term impact and focusing on the maintenance of existing greenery, rather than just planting more, is a crucial need.
Written by Hasan Abdulkareem
Hasan is an interpreter, copywriter and content writer with a passion for minimalism and the environment.