A New Fate for Food Waste

Speeches Shim

Tuesday, January 18, 2022
Abdulqader is the founder of Green Garden, an Iraqi start-up that turns organic waste into fertilizer.
DCEO for USAID

Though an agricultural engineer by trade, Abdulqader, 35, spent the four years following Mosul’s liberation from ISIS working to remove waste and rubble from the destroyed areas of the city. Abdulqader was concerned by the toxic smoke created by burning the organic waste and building remains together and was determined to find a safer solution. 

Drawing on his background in agricultural engineering, Abdulqader realized that much of the waste that was being burned could be composted to create more environmentally-friendly fertilizers. He called his new project Green Garden, which would collect organic waste from food scraps, animal manure, and public parks and process it to produce safe fertilizers and potting soil.

Abdulqader joined USAID’s Innovation for Business Generation program at Mosul Space to grow Green Garden and turn it into a profitable business. “I learned how to think like a customer, which taught me a lot about the marketing of organic fertilizers. I also learned financial management, what I should expect in the future, and common mistakes to avoid,” he said. 

 “With the support of USAID, we were trained to have an entrepreneurial mindset,” said Abdulqader. So far, he has secured the land where he is composting waste into useful and environmentally-friendly gardening products. Green Garden is currently pitching the concept to investors to help expand the business, with a clear vision and a business plan in-hand. 

Abdulqader is confident about Green Garden. “My future is promising, and I will be able to hire young people and buy the needed tools,” he says. As Iraq’s youth are becoming more environmentally-conscious, Abdulqader is proud to be part of the growing movement toward a more sustainable Iraq.

Last updated: May 10, 2022

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