FAO in Iraq

Programmes in Iraq

In recognition of Iraq’s needs and in line with FAO's objectives and comparative advantages, the Country Programming Framework (CPF, 2018-2022) focuses on the following priority areas.

Priority Area A. Resilience and restoration of agricultural livelihoods in regained areas of Iraq

In many areas retaken from the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), rural infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, productive assets have been looted and unexploded ordinances have contaminated the land, posing immediate and long-term risks for the natural environment and rural people. Consequently, farmers have been unable to plant in the normal cropping cycles and pastoralists have been forced to abandon or sell their herds at sub-optimal prices. The livestock sector faces the additional burden of impaired veterinary services, which has negative implications for the prevention and containment of livestock and zoonotic disease outbreaks. To contribute to this government priority, FAO focuses on the sustainable reconstruction and rehabilitation of the agriculture sector, targeting seven governorates that endured the brunt of conflict. These efforts include investment planning, rehabilitation of rural infrastructure, revitalization of smallholder agricultural production, restoration and upgrading of agricultural research stations and extension services (i.e. plant protection and veterinary services), promotion of climate-smart agriculture practices and surveillance/control of transboundary pests and diseases.

Priority Area B. Restoration of degraded agricultural land and higher productivity of water resources in agriculture.

At the national and farm level, Iraq’s water supply is inefficiently managed throughout the irrigation system due to a lack of water budgeting and poor delivery mechanisms. Therefore, FAO contributes to this government priority by developing inter-ministerial agro-environmental information systems, building the capacity and knowledge of agricultural research institutes, service providers and farmers and promoting sustainable water and land management practices in degraded areas. These efforts will improve water-use efficiency, slow soil salinization and increase agriculture productivity.

Priority Area C. Increased sustainable smallholder agricultural productivity for improved food security and nutrition.

Rural populations in Iraq depend on small-scale agriculture; however, limited agriculture extension services hinder their ability to increase production sustainably. Currently, extension services and research institutions lack effective strategies to engage smallholder famers. In particular, female farmers and rural youth lack access to information and support. If improved, extension services could improve pest and disease management, link producers to value chains and markets and increase the practice of producing value-added commodities. FAO’s aims to contribute to the government priority and smallholders’ food and nutrition security by assessing needs and programming, upgrading agricultural support services to promote climate-smart approaches, building the capacity of nationwide transboundary plant and animal disease control services and supporting inclusive value chain development for key agricultural commodities. The government will also roll out of a “National Strategy for the Advancement of Rural Women” to mainstream gender equality.