The Iraq Horticulture Development Program (IHD) is a 4-year development project funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands and implemented by ECO Consult in cooperation with Delphy. The project aims at increasing the horticulture sector’s competitiveness and expanding opportunities in the value chain through introducing innovative climate smart agriculture (CSA) technologies and efficient irrigation, improving postharvest practices and promoting knowledge transfer among counterparts and partner organizations.
IHD is designed to improve the horticulture sector’s competitiveness, increase resilience of market systems and enhance the knowledge base among partner organizations on sustainable agriculture practices. The project will significantly impact the country’s deteriorated economy by providing farming communities new job opportunities, stability and income.
Project objectives are:
- Introduce and showcase innovative farming technology that are best suited for the Iraq climate. Those technologies will demonstrate efficient farming techniques to enable farmers achieve high quality and high yield products
- Improve postharvest management practices to enhance the quality of yields and create market linkages and optimize post-harvest value chains of the horticulture sector
- Enhance the knowledge base among counterparts and partner organizations in efficient and sustainable horticulture management
The main focus is to disseminate knowledge and share knowhow with main actors within the sector – mainly the lead farmers and medium sized and small farmers. The Project promotes collaboration between the lead farmers and the small farmers for mutually beneficial outcomes. The capacity building also includes the suppliers of farming inputs (seeds, pesticides & fertilizers suppliers) in addition to post-harvest companies and service providers to expand their knowledge of the market system. The project works with counterparts and institutions in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region including affiliating with the universities, knowledge centers, departments of agriculture and relevant Ministries.
The approach fundamentally focuses on building systems and demonstrations that are core for expanding the efficient and new farming systems in Iraq, and that build partnerships among farmers and actors in the value chains. The project purposely uses the demonstration projects to directly benefit the farmers through capacity building, providing access to training, creating employment opportunities and creating market linkages. All of this will contribute to improving national economy, sector performance and livelihoods of communities. The project will also work on supporting linkages and cooperation among partners in the Netherlands, Jordan and Iraq which builds on HAED-Jo project successes and implementation experiences in Jordan; as well as channeling Dutch innovations and technologies in cultivation and postharvest systems to the Iraqi markets; building on existing infrastructure and systems in Jordan, IHD will provide access to Iraqi farmers, engineers, and researchers for training and placement programs; carrying partnerships between Jordanian and Dutch technology leading enterprises in agribusiness; and building capacities and enhancing skills for continuous improvements.
Through the IHD project, a cluster of outreach interventions and training sessions will be implemented to demonstrate different systems and technologies, build awareness and knowledge among counterpart organizations and enhance the capacity of farmers and other stakeholders. Such training sessions will assist in organizing value chains of major sustainable farming products from the initial cultivation stage to postharvest and entering markets.