Erbil-27 February 2020 – The Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources-Directorate of Planning in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), has held a consultation meeting on improving animal health services. The objective of the meeting was to discuss FAO programs and support to strengthen national veterinary institutions as a key instrument for enhancing rural livelihoods.
Speaking on behalf of the Ministry, Dr. Ghazi Faeq Haji, Director General of Planning, stated that FAO programs in the KRG are of great importance to the agriculture and livestock sectors. He also expressed the Ministry’s readiness for increased collaboration with FAO on vaccination campaigns to control Endemic and Cross-Border Epidemics that negatively affect animal production in the country.
Moreover, Dr. Haji praised FAO’s role in supporting disease surveillance especially that livestock vaccination campaigns have been limited in KRG due to financial crises. He also stressed on the importance of mutual coordination to include other stakeholders and donors.
FAO’s Country Representative for Iraq, Dr. Salah ElHajj Hassan commended the Government of Kurdistan for taking the initiative in organizing this meeting. He informed the meeting that FAO received funding from US Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) to control and reduce the international movement of animal diseases threatening livestock production, food security and nutrition, food safety and health and the environment in Iraq and KRG. He expressed FAO’s commitment to strengthen the capacity of veterinary services to detect, diagnose and report highly pathogenic animal diseases.
Dr. ElHajj Hassan also highlighted that FAO supports the Kurdistan Region initiative to move forward with sustainable growth that ensure agriculture and rural livelihoods improvement, poverty reduction as well as build resilience to climate change through institutional capacity building.
The DTRA project targets three governorates; Duhok, Nineveh and Anbar, and will strengthen the technical and institutional capacity of Iraqi veterinary services for effective surveillance and control of zoonotic and transboundary diseases in order to protect livestock from losses and reduce serious threats to human health and safety.
The meeting was attended by specialists from the Veterinary and Research Departments of the Ministry and Senior Officials from Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in Iraq.