New FAO and WFP study reveals opportunities to strengthen food value chains in Iraq
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in Iraq (FAO) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) released today 'Agricultural value chain study in Iraq: Dates, Grapes, Tomatoes and Wheat.'
This important review covering 2019-20 was conducted with the aim of identifying priority needs and interventions associated with the rehabilitation and long-term competitiveness of Iraq's agricultural sector through an analysis of market linkages and bottlenecks in key value chains.
"We have produced a comprehensive study for the sector that provides a lot of insights into a number of prospective value chains for investments. We have come to realize that we need to have a holistic approach if we want to be successful. This requires us to consider weaknesses across the whole value chain and form partnerships to address the various needs. This would for sure provide us with the best chances for success, and create many sustainable jobs," said Dr. Salah El Hajj Hassan, FAO Representative in Iraq.
FAO and WFP together with the REACH Initiative conducted a cross-national market and gender-sensitive value chain analysis in Iraq, using desk reviews and analysis of secondary data, supported by individual interviews, focus group discussions with farmers, and key informant interviews with actors and experts along each value chain.
The findings include the need to improve services required for the agriculture sector, identify the requirements at different stages of the production cycle, unlocking investments to improve agricultural practices in order to increase the revenue for farmers and traders, in addition to highlighting the importance of strengthened cooperation and collective action in marketing, branding, packaging and procurement.
"This analysis identifies the opportunities to better market and add value to these key foods in Iraq - dates, grapes, tomatoes and wheat," said WFP Representative in Iraq Abdirahman Meygag. "Together with the government, partners and communities, FAO and WFP are supporting the long-term market competitiveness of these four foods, which will have positive effects throughout the food sector."
The study also recommends identifying new opportunities for public-private partnerships to more strategically facilitate the acquisition and use of fit-to-purpose resources to advance the agricultural sector in Iraq.