Today on World Food Day, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) renewed their commitment to supporting the government of Iraq in ensuring that all Iraqis have food security by 2030, with a focus on nutritious food and sustainable livelihoods.

“World Food Day is when we confirm and work to achieve our commitment towards Zero Hunger. In Iraq, FAO will be further cooperating with WFP to provide capacity development and rural income generation programmes for farmers.

FAO is supporting the rehabilitation of water infrastructure, value chains development, the fishery sector and introducing smart agriculture practices in response to country priorities and climate change impact,” said FAO Representative in Iraq Dr. Salah El Hajj Hassan.

The 2019 Memorandum of Understanding between FAO and WFP fosters closer collaboration on longer-term initiatives. Activities will include restoring irrigation canals, instituting sustainable practices such as planting productive trees, and providing inputs such as seeds and tools.

Through such programmes, vulnerable people will receive an income, can get back to work following displacement due to conflict, and continue to farm and grow their own food.

As well as enhanced nutrition awareness for Iraqi citizens, in the coming year, climate change adaptation will be a priority so that communities are better able to recover from climate-related shocks. FAO and WFP are striving to build social cohesion through collective livelihoods rehabilitation. WFP recently reopened its office in Basra to help coordinate activities next year in the south, where vulnerability and poverty indicators are worst.

“In this rehabilitation phase, FAO and WFP are working on livelihoods projects to bring communities together, and contribute to improving long-term self-sufficiency,” said Abdirahman Meygag, WFP Iraq Representative. “We see our climate change adaptation activities as being crucial for food security and the country’s recovery.”

FAO and WFP will also share expertise on information management and assessments, for evidence-based programming that targets the most vulnerable. Programmes are designed together with the government, for and with communities. The two agencies will also coordinate with partners on livelihoods activities, to maximise income-generating opportunities for those in most need.

(Source: UN)

By John Lee.

The United Nations has advertised new positions in Iraq:

(Source: UN)

(Picture: Finger pressing a new career start button, from Olivier Le Moal/Shutterstock)

By John Lee.

The United Nations has advertised new positions in Iraqi Kurdistan:

(Source: UN)

(Picture: Success, growth, career, development signpost from 3D_Creation/Shutterstock)

Farming families in northern Iraq’s Nineveh Governorate will benefit from a European Union contribution of €15 million to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations to recover agricultural livelihoods. The area, which includes the city of Mosul, was known as the country’s ‘breadbasket’ before conflict caused widespread damage and displacement.

This project is expected to directly benefit almost 10,000 vulnerable farming families (around 60,000 people), as well as flow-on benefits for local service providers and labourers.

“As part of the EU’s commitment to the whole of Iraq, supporting the regions so tragically devastated by the recent conflict remains a high priority. By reviving agriculture in Nineveh, a key sector of the economy, this new project will help communities and returnees in rural areas, increasing their income and employment opportunities,” said Ramon Blecua, European Union Ambassador to Iraq.

“We are grateful to the European Union for this generous contribution to help us rehabilitate key agricultural facilities and equipment. Getting these services operational again will be a big help for farmers and local businesses,” said Mustapha M. Sinaceur, FAO Representative a.i. in Iraq. “Creating jobs in the heartland of agriculture, where so many jobs depend on the rich soils of Nineveh Governorate, is vital for community stabilization,” he said.

The impact of conflict on the agricultural sector has been devastating and includes damage to water systems, irrigation facilities and other agricultural infrastructure, disruption of value chains and losses of personal assets, crop and livestock production, and food supplies.

Since the Iraqi government announced the defeat of Islamic State, also known as Da’esh, a year ago, many people have returned, encouraged by the efforts to ensure a secure and safe environment. However, some areas still lack basic services and job opportunities for both returnees and those who remained.

FAO and the EU working together for family farmers

The EU-funded project supports smallholder farming families to diversify incomes, increase resilience, and provide nutritious and healthy diets.

The project will support vulnerable smallholder farmers to resume vegetable production, introduce efficient irrigation water use and management, encourage agri-food processing, improve small-scale dairy processing and marketing, and boost animal fodder production and conservation.

Women, in particular, will be supported to participate in home-based vegetable and dairy production and processing. Unemployed young agriculture graduates will be encouraged to benefit from training to gain employment as agri-food processors, farmer field school and farmer business school facilitators, community animal health workers, market information system operators, and food security and nutrition data collectors and analysts.

Together, these activities will respond to families’ immediate needs for food and essential non-food items as well as restoring agricultural livelihoods that generate income and employment over the longer term.

At the same time, the project aims to restore vital government infrastructure and support services to the agriculture sector that have been destroyed, damaged, or looted.

The project is an EU contribution to the UN’s Recovery and Resilience Programme (RRP) in Iraq. It is part of a larger package of support (€ 184.4 million euros) the EU has contributed to support stabilization and humanitarian efforts undertaken by the UN in support of the Government of Iraq since 2016.

FAO’s response in Iraq

Under the Iraq Humanitarian Response Plan 2019, FAO is working to ensure 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: FAO)

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 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)

By John Lee.

The United Nations has advertised new positions in Iraqi Kurdistan:

(Source: UN)

By John Lee.

The United Nations has advertised new positions in Iraq:

(Source: UN)

By John Lee.

The United Nations has advertised new positions in Iraqi Kurdistan:

(Source: UN)

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.