United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization


New Career Opportunities in Iraqi Kurdistan

By John Lee.

The United Nations has advertised new positions in Iraqi Kurdistan:

(Source: UN)

New Career Opportunities in Iraq

By John Lee.

The United Nations has advertised new positions in Iraq:

(Source: UN)

New Career Opportunities in Iraqi Kurdistan

By John Lee.

The United Nations has advertised new positions in Iraqi Kurdistan:

(Source: UN)

Mobile Tech helps to Transfer Cash to Rural Families

Many vulnerable rural families in Iraq can now benefit from a safer, more secure means of receiving income thanks to mobile money transfer technology adopted for the first time by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) as part of a cash-for-work programme aimed at rehabilitating agricultural infrastructure and land.

The programme, which is funded by the Belgium Government, will support 12,000 conflict-affected people in 30 villages in Kirkuk, Anbar, Salah al-Din and Ninewa governorates. It will benefit local farmers, by enabling them to restart or expand farming activities with rehabilitated infrastructure, and provides agricultural livelihoods opportunities for displaced people returning home.

Participants, who are from households with no other income source, include women who often the sole breadwinners for their families, and people with a disability. The workers and their families are people who either remained in their villages during conflict or returned home after being displaced by the fighting.

Fadel El-Zubi, FAO Representative in Iraq, said:

The use of mobile technology will streamline the safe delivery of cash transfers to participants, who are some of the most vulnerable people in the country.

“Providing income opportunities is critical in rural areas affected by conflict, where competition for employment is high, jobs are scarce and people are struggling to support their families.

International partnership

To facilitate the payments, FAO has partnered with Zain a mobile and data services operator with a commercial footprint in eight Middle Eastern and African countries. Participant names and identity numbers are pre-registered with the company, and they receive a free SIM card.

Emergency Fertilizer Distributions help Iraqi Farmers

Emergency fertilizer distributions help conflict-affected Iraqi farmers increase wheat production

More than 2 000 farmers affected by conflict in Iraq have received 750 tonnes of fertilizer from the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to increase production of their winter wheat crops.

The farmers, from Alqosh and Sheikan districts of Ninewa Governorate each received 350 kilograms of fertilizer, half of which will be used now for planting and the other half in spring to boost the wheat’s growth.

Since the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) took parts of Iraq’s wheat belt in 2014, farmers have struggled to either access or afford fertilizer and other agricultural inputs, due to challenges that include restricted access to markets, the high cost of inputs, and the effect of conflict on Iraq’s Government, resulting in delayed payments to farmers for previous crops.

“The shortage of fertilizer has been a challenge for us. We can’t afford to buy it,” said local farmer Seve Kheder Slo, who grows wheat with her husband on their small farm to support their seven children. “We just planted our winter wheat crop and we’ll use this fertilizer straight away. It will support the crop to grow more than it would otherwise.”

With nearly one-third of Iraqis requiring humanitarian assistance, food security remains one of the most worrying aspects of the crisis in Iraq. Some 77 percent of Iraq’s 2.9 million food insecure people are women, children or elderly.

“When farmers can no longer access or afford inputs like fertilizer and pesticides, their crops, should they be able to plant them at all, are unlikely to thrive,” said Dr Fadel El-Zubi, FAO Representative in Iraq. “Since 2014, this is one of the factors that has contributed to countrywide cereal shortages and a sharp rise in the cost of basic food commodities in Iraq.

“Restoring people’s ability to farm and trade in conflict-affected communities is not only important for food security, but also for building peace and prosperity in the country,” he said.

Iraqi Farmers “in Dire Need of Support”

Wheat seeds, fertilizer and animal feed are starting to roll out to nearly 28,000 farming families in Iraq whose livelihoods have been left in tatters as a result of hostilities — part of an effort from the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) aimed at reinforcing food production and helping people recover.

But the Organization is warning that an additional $38.5 million in support is urgently needed to prevent the country’s agricultural sector from collapsing and an already-worrisome food security situation from further degenerating.

Thousands of Iraqi farmers have been forced to flee their lands or have had their assets destroyed or seized. Others have seen markets for their crops disappear, or have sold off livestock, supplies and equipment to make ends meet.

As a result of these disruptions, June’s harvest was severely compromised, reducing food availability across the country – currently an estimated 2.8 million people in Iraq are in need of food assistance. This situation could worsen as families continue to lose productive assets and income opportunities, or find themselves forced to unload livestock for quick cash.

“If not addressed in time, this will translate into longer-term reliance on food aid and other forms of aid,” said Abdessalam Ould Ahmed, FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for the Near East and North Africa. “Millions of vulnerable Iraqis are in dire need of help to restore their self-sufficiency and build resilience,” he added.