Baghdad - 22 September 2020 - His Excellency the Minister of Agriculture Eng. Muhammad Karim Jassim Al-Khafaji and the Representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in Iraq, Dr. Salah El-Hajj Hassan, discussed FAO programs, its support to rural livelihoods and its partnership with national institutions with a focus on agriculture, rural development, water and environment in Iraq.
During the meeting, His Excellency the Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Al-Khafaji, emphasized the importance of protecting agriculture producers and food value chains of major crops during the current health crisis. He said, “There is a need from FAO to continue its support to agriculture activities and strengthening of capacities of communities and the government to prevent future deterioration of food security and nutrition, and to build the resilience of the country as a whole.” Moreover, his Excellency observed the impact of COVID-19 on the economic situation in Iraq and noted FAO’s responsibility and role from the start of the pandemic in monitoring its impact on food systems and coordinating actions to mitigate its impact.
Dr. ElHajj Hassan highlighted and discussed with his Excellency the Minister of Agriculture FAO’s current programs that aims to reduce rural poverty and increase production through funds received from a number of international donors, including the European Union, the Threat Reduction Agency of the U.S. Department of Defense, the Japanese government and the Global Environment Facility.
Dr. ElHajj Hassan confirmed FAO’s support to the rehabilitation of agriculture areas and irrigation systems in liberated areas, in addition to developing the performance of value chains in the agri-food sector for improved productivity across Iraq. He also stated that FAO will continue to provide its support to national partners through institutional capacity building to enhance veterinary services and response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As climate change remains a priority to Iraq, Dr. ElHajj Hassan indicated that the organization is currently introducing renewable energy sources to support sustainable food production and support good agricultural practices resilient to climate change.
The Ministry of Agriculture and the Food and Agriculture Organization has approved to formulate and finalize an action plan to help implement the main priorities of the Food Security Strategy in full coordination with the concerned ministries, such as the Ministry of Planning and Ministry of Water Resources.