From farm to fork: Europe Day in Iraq shines a light on the country’s vital agri-food sector [EN/AR] – Iraq
Baghdad, 11 May 2022 – The European Union Delegation to Iraq today celebrated Europe Day in Baghdad. An event that brought together partners, highlighted the country’s vital agri-food sector and the efforts that support its sustainable development.
The one-day event brought together representatives from the various partner ministries and local authorities, UN agencies, international partners, the private sector, trade unions and key stakeholders in the agricultural sector.
EU Ambassador to Iraq, Mr. Ville Varjola, said: “This week we are celebrating Europe Day. It commemorates the “Schuman Declaration” of 9 May 1950, which paved the way for Franco-German reconciliation and laid the foundations of what is now called the European Union. Today, the EU continues to work to achieve peace also outside its borders”. Mr. Varjola added that “history has proven that developing a robust agricultural sector is one of the most powerful tools to end poverty, boost prosperity and ensure food security. This is why the EU is investing in the development of the entire agri-food value chain in Iraq in order to promote the necessary diversification of its economy. This proved all the more important given the rise in food prices around the world, triggered by Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified war against Ukraine”.
A key feature of the event was an exhibition hall, themed “from farm to fork”, which showcased a range of different activities and stories from the field. This included stalls and stalls manned by rural women, as well as partner agribusinesses displaying and selling their products. It also included an exhibition on the livestock-milk value chain. The event was an opportunity for participants to express their experiences of working in the sector, whether it was forging business alliances with buyers or accessing opportunities to develop their entrepreneurial skills and small enterprises.
“Thank you to all operational agencies in Iraq and to the European Union for their cooperation in implementing programs that support the agricultural sector,” said Dr. Hadi Hashim, representative of the Ministry of Agriculture during the event.
A technical roundtable with industry experts offered insight into some of the challenges, opportunities and practices for addressing agribusiness development through a value chain approach. The roundtable helped to raise awareness of this new approach, supported by the EU and with the buy-in of the Iraqi government, to identify a common understanding on how to further support value chain actors in order to improve the competitiveness and unlocking the potential of the sector, as well as presenting the ongoing activities carried out under the Agribusiness Development Program – AfBDP.
“This is an excellent example of how to support the agricultural sector and create synergies between different stakeholders,” said Dr Salah El Hajj Hassan, FAO Representative in Iraq, on behalf of Ms Irena Vojáčková- Solloran, Deputy Special Representative of the United Nations. of the Secretary General for Iraq, Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator.
The European Union in Iraq funds international partners – the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the International Labor Organization (ILO), the International Trade Center (ITC) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) – under the umbrella of AfBDP.
At the heart of the AfBDP is an agrifood value chain approach that supports stabilization and governance, while promoting the creation of sustainable and decent jobs.
About the Agribusiness Development Program (AfBDP)
The program draws on each of the six agencies’ areas of expertise to address gaps and opportunities in the private sector and agribusiness in a coordinated manner, with a focus on multiple value chains, including dairy, tomatoes, dates and poultry. To do this, it works closely with the Iraqi government and its partners to facilitate economic reforms, private sector engagement and improve working conditions; capacity building of public and private actors; helping smallholder farmers and workers to adopt sustainable agricultural practices, strengthening small businesses through technical and financial assistance; and fostering alliances across value chains.
For more information, please contact:
Program Officer-Delegation of the European Union in Iraq