Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

16 October 2024

World Food Day

Waadullah Jarjis

“We learned to make every drop count. [And] from barren fields emerged a thriving oasis.”


“Water scarcity had become a relentless battle for our village,” Waadullah Jarjis recalls of recent years. 

He’s a small-scale farmer from Ba’shiqah in Mosul province, a semi-arid region in northern Iraq. His village and the surrounding governorate were home to many families who lived there for generations but were forced to leave their lands and homes when ISIL took over the region. Six years later, when the Iraqi government regained control, farming families like his started to return and rebuild their lives and livelihoods. 

Summers here are long, hot and dry, with little or no rainfall. For farmers like Waadullah, this means they are heavily dependent on the network of rivers and canals to access water to grow their crops. But those often run low, if not dry.  

Waadullah needed a way to do more with less water. In an effort to use the water he had access to more efficiently, he and 55 other farmers in his village installed sophisticated drip irrigation systems on theirs lands, consisting of an electric pump and rows of plastic tubes with small holes that release water directly to the roots of the plant.  

"With precision and care, we nourished our crops and transformed our future."  

The new system has reduced his water consumption by an impressive 75 percent, according to Waadullah, and at the same time increased his crop yields.  

"We learned to make every drop count," he says of the collective effort. “From barren fields emerged a thriving oasis.”  

More yields means better nutrition for his family and more income from produce sales. And better water management by the majority of farmers in the village means the community at large is better equipped to withstand water scarcity in the future. “Our village became a sanctuary of sustainable farming,” he says.  

"Together, we safeguarded our water resources and secured prosperity for generations to come. Our yields multiplied, and so did our hope.”  

By nurturing a culture of innovation and resilience, FAO not only helped farmers thrive but also safeguarded the precious water resources of the region.  

"We turned it into an opportunity for growth and resilience."