United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization


EU Supports Conflict-Affected Iraqi Families

Vulnerable farming families in post-conflict areas in Iraq’s Ninewa plains, west of Mosul, will be able to better withstand shocks thanks to a European Union-funded UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) project that aims to increase household income while building, repairing and maintaining local infrastructure and creating communal and public productive assets.

The €6 million project funded by the Madad Fund – the European Union’s Regional Trust Fund in response to the Syrian crisis – is part of FAO’s Recovery and Resilience Programme. The programme contributes to reducing chronic, or acute food insecurity, malnutrition, poverty, and associated risks and vulnerabilities in Iraq’s agriculture sector.

“The European Union has responded promptly to the very urgent needs of the most vulnerable families that were affected by the conflict in northern parts of Iraq,” said Fadel El-Zubi, FAO Representative in Iraq. “Thanks to the support from the European Union, households will enhance their resilience and ability to cope with shocks by increasing their net earnings,” he said.

Cash-for-work to improve access to water

Through cash-for-work activities, 1 250 households will be able to earn an income, directly benefiting around 7 500 people. Critically, the results of this work will also enable farmers to access water for crop irrigation and livestock, through the rehabilitation and construction of water catchments, roads, river embankments and secondary canals.

“Once these important agricultural assets and irrigation infrastructure are restored, the project will provide water for 70 000 hectares of currently unproductive land that can be used for winter wheat crops, and the spring and autumn vegetable seasons,” El-Zubi said. “This means 30 000 vulnerable farming households (180 000 people) will be able to produce food on their land again.”

Many of the families participating in the cash-for-work component of the project have no other income. Participants include women and other marginalized groups, with the work benefiting the community as well as individuals and families.

FAO’s humanitarian response

As the Government of Iraq moves towards a focus on rehabilitation and recovery, humanitarian needs remain. Under the Humanitarian Response Plan 2018, FAO requires $10.2 million to assist 116 100 people in the areas of livestock, plant pest outbreak control and food security coordination.

Over the longer term, under the Iraq Recovery and Resilience Programme 2018-2019, FAO requires $76 million to assist 1.6 million people by restoring agriculture and water systems and revitalizing communities.

FAO’s focus remains on ensuring rural families have the resources to re-establish and secure their agricultural livelihoods and build their resilience into the future. FAO’s work, in close coordination with the Iraqi government, supports families returning to retaken areas, internally displaced families, host communities and refugees from Syria.

(Source: UN)

Creating Alternative Livelihoods for Farming Families

Creating Alternative Livelihoods for Farming Families in Iraq

In 2017, conflict in Iraq caused new displacements, while other people returned home as areas became safe. At the end of 2017, 2.6 million people remained displaced, and 3.2 million people had returned home since January 2014.

FAO worked with affected communities, focusing on elderly people, people with a disability and families headed by women, to increase access to fresh foods, boost incomes and build skills. Activities both immediately and sustainably improved food security, nutrition, income generation and livelihoods.

FAO supported 2 400 people from 150 villages with backyard poultry production – distributing hens, poultry feeding and drinking equipment, and feed. This enabled each family to produce eggs and poultry meat for their own consumption and for sale.

Further support was provided to conflict-affected families in the form of training, tools and equipment for bee-keeping for honey production, and dairy and fruit processing.

FAO’s cash-for-work programmes provided a valuable source of employment as vulnerable people were paid to clear debris along Ninewa governorate’s Al Jazeera irrigation canals.

The canals provide irrigation water to 250 000 ha of farmland. Cash-for-work programmes were also organized in Kirkuk, Anbar and Salah al Din governorates.

In Ninewa governorate, FAO supported livestock-producing families with animal feed, and commenced an animal health campaign to vaccinate 1 million livestock.

(Source: FAO)

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.