WFP and partners revive olive production in Iraq
The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and partners have inaugurated a new olive press machine as part of economic regeneration efforts for the local community in Bashiqa, Iraq.
WFP, the Governor's office, Mayor's office, the Bashiqa Olive Association and Samaritan's Purse's aim is to bring this renowned olive-producing community back to the levels of production before conflict and connect producers to markets.
"It's time for this community to bounce back and build on its enormous economic potential," said Ally-Raza Qureshi, WFP Iraq Representative. "Supporting the revival of olive production is part of WFP's durable solutions, rural development work to ensure that the most vulnerable people are not left behind."
WFP and Samaritan's Purse organised training for 30 Olive Association leaders and farmers, on selecting the best olive tree varieties for optimum oil production, olive agroforestry systems, effective irrigation, harvesting and mechanisation, as well as olive oil extraction, with a focus on medicinal properties. WFP and partners also created new information sharing groups among local olive producers, so they can easily continue to share best practice and lessons learned.
The initiative also includes market linkages created by WFP and partners such that when products are ready to sell, the sales channels are also in place, creating a circle of sustainable supply and demand.
WFP and partners have planted nearly 13,000 olive, fig, pomegranate, pear trees and grape vines in the area, and are supporting people to start up small businesses in Bashiqa and across the country. WFP provides complementary support to communities across Iraq which are affected by conflict and climate change. Several women's cooperatives have been set up and are successfully selling local products.