Sustainable development strategies to transform Iraq's tomato and poultry sectors
H. E. Mohammed Kareem Al Khafaji, Minister of Agriculture, officially launched, on behalf of the Government of Iraq, the country's Poultry and Tomato Sustainable Development Strategies (2022-2026).
Consumer demand for Iraqi poultry and tomato products is on the rise, particularly in the domestic market. Together, these value chains hold a projected import demand of over $1.7 billion combined by 2025. Furthermore, both sectors exert significant potential for value chain development, value addition and commercialization.
Enhancing Iraq's competitiveness in these value chains contributes to national development goals of food security, inclusive growth, and job creation, particularly for women and youth. According to the International Trade Centre (ITC), reforms in the agribusiness sector could lead to more than 170,000 additional jobs in a moderate growth scenario by 2030.
Despite this considerable potential, Iraq's poultry and tomato value chains see a variety of impediments. All key actors along the value chains need to work together to address challenges, such as weak market connectivity and a challenging business environment, restraining the sector's ability to compete with imported products, upgrade their offering and connect to rewarding markets.
To tackle these constraints and seize on the growing domestic market potential, the Ministry of Agriculture developed the Poultry and Tomato Sustainable Development Strategies to guide the efforts of the government, private sector, and development partners and thus, to improve the competitiveness of farmers and small and medium enterprises in these two sectors.
The launch in Baghdad marks the official implementation phase of the strategies and the culmination of a participatory approach during which over 400 Iraqi industry leaders, small business owners, farmers and public-sector representatives held consultations to reach consensus on sector competitiveness issues, strategic considerations and activities. These meetings were complemented by assessments of production sites and factory supply chains as well as bilateral interviews with industry experts and major market actors. The strategies also rely on extensive research and survey work during which hundreds of farmers and SMEs were interviewed, as well as thousands of Iraqi consumers.
H. E. Mohammed Kareem Al Khafaji, Minister of Agriculture, said:
"The strategies are aligned with the government's priorities. They complement the Ministry of Agriculture's efforts to support the poultry and tomato value chains, develop Iraq's agri-food industries and enhance food processing and marketing capacities in the country."
Barbara Egger, Head of Cooperation, European Union Delegation, said:
"The European Union is taking concrete action towards the implementation of these strategies and further advancing the agriculture and agri-food sectors in Iraq for inclusive growth and job creation."
Eric Buchot, Head of Country Programme, International Trade Centre, said:
"ITC commends the leadership of the Government of Iraq and the committed engagement of the private sector, farmers groups and development partners in the design of these strategies. It is important to move to concrete actions now. ITC stands ready to continue accompanying Iraq during the strategies' implementation phase."