Government consultations advance Iraq's Potato Sector Strategy
As part of efforts to support the development of the potato sector strategy in Iraq, consultants at governorate level were held in Baghdad recently. Another consultation was held in Erbil on 9 May.
These consultations constitute a milestone for drafting the potato sector's national strategy as public and private sector representatives, including farmers, processors, traders, retailers, and agri-support business services, as well as development partners actively engaged in the discussions.
The potato sector holds untapped potential for growth as potatoes are expected to have the second highest future demand in the Iraqi horticulture sector after tomatoes.
The Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) is leading the preparation of the strategy with the technical support of the International Trade Centre (ITC) within the framework of the European Union-funded project, "Strengthening the agriculture and agri-food value chain and improving trade policy in Iraq" (SAAVI) and technical and advisory support from the International Potato Center (CIP).
The strategy will provide a roadmap for national stakeholders to improve the competitiveness of farmers and small and medium-sized enterprises in the sector. It will be accompanied by a detailed five-year Plan of Action with measurable and prioritized actions.
The consultations build on structured discussions with farmers and small businesses, as well as sector-level assessments, production site visits and targeted interviews. More than 500 competitiveness surveys focusing on agribusinesses and farmers and over 3,000 interviews were conducted at the national level with consumers as well as with representatives from various stakeholder groups, such as traders, wholesalers and retailers, to help better understand market demand, and identify areas of improvement and market opportunities.
These efforts build on the successful development of ITC-facilitated Iraq's Tomato and Poultry Sustainable Development Strategies (2022-2026), under the leadership of the Government of Iraq. The strategies were endorsed and officially launched in July 2022 and are currently under implementation.
On the side-lines of the multi-stakeholder meetings, the National Core Team, a public and private sector coordination structure under MoA leadership, participated in working sessions and visited farms from the SAAVI agribusiness alliances with support from Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC). The Core Team provides guidance to the implementation of the strategies. It also oversees the design process of the potato sector strategy.
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