The USAID Inma Program helps farmers improve quality, increase quantity, and reduce costs of production. This was the message coming out of
a conference held in the Kurdistan regional capital Erbil .about the current situation of the agriculture sector in The aim was to increase local agricultural production so that it can supply the regional and part of the national markets’ demands.
The conference was organized at the Hawler Theatre Hall in the Erbil International Hotel (EIH) on March 30, with the participation of the director of the Inma Project Mr. Ross Wherry, KRG Minister of Agriculture and Water Resources Mr. Jamil Sulaiman Haidar plus a number of local and international experts in the field of agriculture, farmers and representatives from the private sector.
The conference started with an opening speech by Wherry, in which he explained the objective of the one-day conference to send a message to the farmers in Kurdistan Region: “Where are your agricultural products? What is your plan for food safety and what are you future plans for the improvement of the agriculture sector and increasing the production?”
The director of the USAID-funded Inma Project said that their aim is to tell the farmers of northern Iraq how to minimize their production costs and earn money in return for the money they spend.
“We believe in the farmers of northern Iraq in terms of producing vegetables and fruit,” said Wherry “and we support the farmers not in terms of giving them money, but in terms of providing them with technology and information about how to improve quality and reduce costs.”
Experts participating in the conference stated that the conference was very important for this stage of agricultural development in the region, particularly in terms of transferring new science and technology . This is in addition to making use of the academic research being conducted by university agricultural students.
Farmers at the conference reiterated that KRG’s efforts to support the agriculture sector has been significantly successful and has had considerable positive impact but it still needs to make further progress.
The objective of Inma is to increase the competitiveness of Iraqi agriculture and agribusiness, helping reverse the negative effects of decades of central planning. It supports the development and expansion of commercial agribusiness enterprises producing and marketing high-value horticultural and animal products that enjoy immediate acceptance in the Iraqi consumer market.
Iraq, and especially Kurdistan Region, has a big agricultural potential, but it has not been utilized in a modern way with use of new technologies due to the wrong policies of the respective regimes in the country that neglected this vital source of Iraq’s economic development.
Currently a large portion of Iraq’s agricultural lands are not cultivated and have been abandoned by farmers who immigrated to the city centers in search of higher income and improved living standards.
Thus, experts think that government and aid organizations’ support is essential for the agriculture sector of the country to boom again and save the country from the threat that imported food is currently posing on Iraqis’ health and food safety.
( Kurdish Globe )