el Iraq

el Iraq

The protracted conflict and ongoing economic crisis in Iraq has left 3.2 million people food insecure, including those who depend on agriculture for their livelihoods. Violence continues to force people to abandon farms, causing the displacement of almost 3 million people and destroying or damaging harvests, equipment, supplies, livestock, seeds, crops and stored food. Water shortages and the lack or high cost of agricultural inputs continue to negatively affect the performance of the sector. Families report limited livelihood opportunities, which reduces their purchasing power and restricts their access to the public distribution system – an important social safety net that entitles Iraqis to receive rations of flour, rice and cooking oil from the government.

Since the start of the military operations against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, the level of displacement throughout the country remains concerning and humanitarian needs remain significant. Currently, almost 946 000 are displaced from Ninewa Governorate and more than 561 000 have returned. Swift returns were reported in Hawiga district in southern Kirkuk Governorate, despite the presence of explosive hazards. As populations return to their homes, displacement picks up in west Anbar Governorate following the resumption of military operations.

The effect of the unilateral referendum on Kurdish independence could likely escalate instability and tensions within the country. Residents in host communities continue to be impacted by the country’s economic situation and wages for government employees continue to be delayed. Herders who are unable to feed their livestock are forced to abandon or sell them, decreasing their herd size. Infrastructure such as water supplies for agricultural and domestic use has been damaged or destroyed. Heavy contamination of retaken areas with unexploded ordnance and improvised explosive devices poses immediate and long-term risks for the environment and the people, including herders and farmers.

The protection of people’s remaining animal assets is essential to enable herders to maintain productive livestock activities that will improve food security and self-reliance. Veterinary care is critical to contain and avoid outbreaks of livestock diseases. Therefore, FAO launched an animal health campaign in Ninewa where participants receive skills and livelihoods training and employment opportunities while at the same time rehabilitating agricultural infrastructure. FAO’s priority interventions include:

  • Support emergency food and livestock production through seeds, fertilizer, agricultural machinery and equipment and livestock support such as vaccination, animal feed, restocking and disease surveillance, diagnosis and reporting.
  • Restore agricultural assets through cash-for-work activities, support to local markets and rehabilitation of irrigation systems, water supply, productive assets and community infrastructure.
  • Ensure protection of child labour in agriculture through awareness raising, education and advocacy, identification and promotion of labour saving technologies (e.g. equipment, tools and machinery) and farmer field school trainings and demonstrations.

More about the country

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 - Ongoing FAO emergency and resilience activities in Iraq.