Background Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations - IRAQ

˝Agriculture currently provides about 8 percent of Iraqs GDP and 20 percent of employment, and supports a rural population of 7 million people. The sector has declined since the 1980s and is underperforming. Over the last fifteen years, agricultural production dropped by an average of 1.1 percent per year, and per capita agricultural production declined by about 3.9 percent per year. Productivity of the main cereal cropswheat, barley, and ricehas fallen dramatically. Over half of the countrys total food requirement is imported. Under the sanctions regime, a Public Food Distribution System (PFDS), which provided food rations to all Iraqis, attempted to support food security at the household level, but fell short of ensuring adequate nutrition to most of the population.

United Nations/World Bank Joint Iraq Needs Assessment, October 2003


FAOs emergency role in Iraq

FAO is the UN sector team leader for agriculture, food security, environment and natural resource management. Operating from its relocated country office in Amman, FAO works in partnership with other UN agencies to provide support to the Iraq government, setting up activities with researchers, universities, extensionists and farmers.

To date FAO emergency activities in Iraq have received USD 95 million in funding from the multi-donor Iraq Trust Fund (ITF).


The focus areas of FAOs work are:

  • rehabilitation of water supply systems, including Pumping Station irrigation and drainage infrastructure

  • restoration of livestock and veterinary services

  • promotion of employment generation through cottage industries and micro-enterprises such as dairy processing and bee-keeping

  • restoration of food safety and food processing capacity

  • resumption of fish farming and commercial fish industry

  • rehabilitation of the seed industry

  • rehabilitation of the date palm sector


From Emergency To Development:    Medium-Term   Strategy For FAO Assistance To Iraq


The report, "From Emergency to Development - Medium Term Strategy for FAO Assistance," was prepared by the FAO Iraq team in early 2008 in intensive consultation with Iraqi Government officials. Its purpose was to take stock of ongoing policy, economic and social developments, review the emergency work done so far by FAO to help in the rehabilitation of the agricultural sector of Iraq and design a flexible medium term strategy for FAO assistance to the sector in the transition from emergency to development. The report was endorsed at a Validation Workshop held in Amman in April 2008 with the participation of Iraqi authorities, UN and FAO representatives. Iraq in partnership with the international community has recognized the importance of agriculture for the substantive role it plays in the overall economic and social development of the country. The strategy document seeks to make a contribution to this process.


Iraqi Marshlands Initiative: FAO/MOSM Joint Programming Strategy


The medium term Joint Programming Strategy between Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in Iraq (FAO-Iraq) and the Ministry of State for the Marshlands Affairs (MOSM) was discussed and endorsed during the Validations Workshop that was held in Amman over 11 and 12 March 2009. The Joint Programming is the result of all the discussions that took place over a number of meetings and communications between the technical staff from both FAO-Iraq and MOSM. It expresses the agreement to join efforts to assist the Iraqi Marshlands people and support the agriculture production and post production activities in the area; mainly in the sectors of Fisheries, Horticulture, Livestock, agro-industries, GIS Applications and Food Safety.  


The workshop was attended by Deputy Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General (Humanitarian, Reconstruction and Development) for Iraq Mr. David Shearer and high level participation from the Iraqi Ministry of State for the Marshlands Affairs (headed by HE the Minister), Iraqi Ministry of Agriculture, Iraqi Ministry of Water Resources, University of Basra, Donors community (including EC, Norway, Italy and JICA), the Canadian Iraqi Marshlands Initiative, FAO HQ, FAO-Iraq team and other UN agencies.


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