Iraq has lost 40 per cent of its agricultural produce as a result of its war against Daesh, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said yesterday.
“There are 12 million Iraqis; almost a third of the country’s population who reside in rural areas and depend on agriculture for their livelihoods,” the organisation said in a statement at the Kuwait International Conference for the Reconstruction of Iraq.
“Restoring the crucial agriculture sector that has been severely damaged by ISIL’s takeover of vast areas of Iraq is critical to the country’s recovery from years of conflict and to its long-term prosperity,” it added, using another acronym for Daesh.
Violence in the past few years forced farmers in northern and north-western parts of Iraq to abandon their farms, destroying or damaging harvests.
“Infrastructure such as water supply for drinking and agricultural production was damaged or destroyed. Agricultural equipment, seeds, crops, stored harvests and livestock were looted.”
According to the statement, the FAO has set up a large-scale programme to help rehabilitate irrigation systems and veterinary services to help 1.6 million people living in these areas by 2018.
The lack of rainfall this season has further damaged the agricultural sector with the Iraqi Ministry of Agriculture predicting a loss of up to 30 per cent of the wheat and barley crops due to drought.