IFAD to begin investment in Iraq to address challenges of agriculture and rural development
The development of the first strategic roadmap for investment in smallholder agriculture and rural development in Iraq is the focus of a high-level meeting being held in Amman from 18 to 20 October.
Organized by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the meeting will set the stage for identifying the priorities for IFAD’s engagement in Iraq, including the main strategic objectives, as well as the framework for the first ever IFAD investment in the country.
The development of Iraq’s country programme is aligned with, and will build on IFAD’s fragile situations strategy.
“IFAD is committed to working in the most fragile and complex environments,” said Khalida Bouzar, IFAD Director for the Near East, North Africa and Europe Division. “We will work to build the resilience of target communities in post-conflict environments such as Iraq,” she added. This, she said, would be done through complementary partnerships with local and international organizations while maintaining a clear focus on job generation and targeting the most vulnerable communities.
Also addressing the meeting on the opening day will be Ahmad A.H. Bamarni, Ambassador of Iraq to Italy. Other participants include the different directorates of Iraq’s Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Water Resources, as well as representatives of universities and research institutions working on agriculture in Iraq.
The opening session will be followed by presentations by experts from Iraq on challenges and priorities facing smallholder farming in the sectors of crop production, water and irrigation, livestock, date palm, honey production, climate change and natural resource management. Experts will also focus on sustainable agriculture, agricultural policy needs and access to finance.
A special session will be devoted to the challenges and priorities for targeting and empowering the most vulnerable communities in Iraq.
Working in collaboration with other international partners who support agriculture and rural development issues in Iraq is a key element for IFAD projects. Interventions will be made by a number of international organizations to highlight the scope of their work, and identify complementarities with the IFAD investment.