By Spc. Michael Adams
CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE SPEICHER, Iraq — Progress toward an economically viable Iraq was once again made when the Iraqi-based Industrial Zone signed a contract with an Iraqi company to build a well on land leased by Contingency Operating Base Speicher, Jan. 18.
"The Al-Wissam company wanted to build a well to expand their business and growth of their company," said Capt. Calvin Fisher, of Durham, N.C., the officer in charge of I-BIZ. "We facilitated an agreement with the landowners, the Task Force Marne Office of the Staff Judge Advocate and the business."
The U.S. government does not own the land, they are the lease-holders of COB Speicher, but the contract was arranged and signed under the I-BIZ program. I-BIZ works with Iraqi businesses to allow economic opportunities on the base and in the local communities.
The well will be on a piece of land close to COB Speicher. There are currently egg plants and green beans on the land, and this well will reduce the costs of importing water. Iraqi farmers will be hired by the company to nurture and grow more crops as well.
The Al-Wissam group has other facilities around the province. The company has gone to farmers in the area to show them new technologies and irrigation techniques to grow crops more efficiently. They also plan to rejuvenate natural areas on the COB by planting plants and trees, and they have been working with I-BIZ to make that goal a reality.
The Al-Wissam group will also be contributing to science with their crops.
The land will be used to grow jojoba plants. The plants will be used in a study by Tikrit University to study oils from the plant that people apply to their skin for cleansing purposes. The study will examine different facets of the plant including how much sunlight it needs, how much water it will require and other important information on how to grow the plant.
Capt. Todd Chard and Lt. Col. Perry Wadsworth, both with the Task Force Marne Office of the Staff Judge Advocate, oversaw the contract to make sure it adhered to the rules pertaining to the base.
Wadsworth feels the agreement will be beneficial for everyone involved.
"This contract is a good way of showing how Iraqis can help themselves," he said. "It will build their own capacity for agriculture. They can do it rather than have outside experts do it or purchase material from other places in the country."
Construction of the well will began in the immediate future, but no specific date has been set.
I-BIZ brings in companies to participate in projects for the economic viability of the base, to include recycling and construction projects. The services the companies provide will be important for the economic development on the base when Iraq takes control of it. The contract is part of a larger effort to help COB Speicher and the surrounding areas self-sufficient after American forces leave.