USAID-Inma Activities in Ninawa Province as of March 2012
Livestock Feedlots: To increase red meat production in Iraq, USAID-Inma supported the development of ten beef and lamb feedlots, including four in Ninawa. These ten feedlots have a capacity of 4,200 head of beef 1,800 head of sheep yearly. Currently eight feedlots are in operation with actual sales of more than $8.5 million. The USAID-Inma assisted feedlots in Ninawa has created 168 full time jobs with $2,250,000 million in sales since completion of the structure.
Forage Demonstrations-Alfalfa: To address the needs for forage in feedlots, dairies and for grazing livestock USAID-Inma has worked with farmers in six Iraqi locations to demonstrate large scale production of alfalfa. Actual product sales for all locations are approximately $1 million. A large commercial 400 donum demonstration site is located in Ninawa. Several field days were conducted at the site to demonstrate the benefits of mechanical hay preservation and the nutritional benefits of alfalfa to livestock. The forage enterprise in Ninawa has created fourteen permanent jobs and generated $85,000 in sales.
Orchard and Vineyard Program: The produce from orchards and vineyards are important products for farmers and consumers in Iraq. However, the varieties of trees and vines were older varieties with lower production rates and resistance to disease as compared to varieties available to growers in other countries. To address this challenge, the USAID-Inma program with the approval of the Ministry of Agriculture assisted with the importation of certified varieties of fruit trees and seedless table grapes to improve the genetic material of Iraqi orchards and vineyards. USAID-Inma provided technical assistance in production and business management.
Agriculture Credit: Access to credit is an important factor in the sustainable development of agriculture in Iraq. To address this constraint the USAID-Inma program provided support to microfinance institutions and private commercial banks to increase fund for agriculture. In Ninawa province, USAID-Inma provided $1 million in capital to 551 small and medium sized businesses.
Olive Association Strengthening: USAID-Inma is encouraging the development of olive production and olive oil processing through support to the Al-Zaytoon Olive Association located in Ba’shiqa. Three presses have been installed and are now operating. USAID-Inma provided a short term olive specialist to train the association in oil pressing, olive orchard management and olive oil press maintenance. Actual sales to date are more than $330,000.
Industry Roundtables: The development of agriculture and agribusiness is dependent upon communication and skill development. To address these areas, USAID-Inma supports agriculture business development through roundtable meetings that focus on all the supply-value chain actors being brought together to discuss issues, trends, investment opportunities, and daily business management. Participants are representatives of private sector suppliers, growers, processors and marketing companies. In addition, academics and representatives of provincial and national government agencies and ministries participate. Seven industry roundtable activities have been conducted in Ninawa province with 247 participants.
Training: The future sustainability and advancement of agriculture depends upon the adoption and refinement of the skill sets of participants throughout the supply-value chain. The USAID-Inma program addressed this concern by providing training to build the technical and management capacity of Iraqi farmers and agribusinesses. In technical areas, training was provided in livestock production, forage production, irrigation principals, integrated orchards management, greenhouse production, open field vegetable production, and strawberry production. In business management, training was provided in financial management, operation management, strategic planning and association management. More than 700 participants in Ninawa attended 28 trainings.
Technical Assistance: One method to increase the adoption rate of new methods and improve the skill sets of agribusinesses is to provide technical assistance. The USAID-Inma provided agribusinesses with direct technical assistance by USAID-Inma staff and technical specialists to improve the adoption of technical and management practices. In Ninawa province, technical assistance was provided in meat processing, hay harvesting, olive production and business management. Recipients included olive oil processor, four feedlots staff, forage producers, multiple growers and associations. In addition, targeted technical assistance was provided to farmers in greenhouse clusters.
Field-Based Learning Centers: USAID-Inma assisted in establishing eight Field-Based Learning Centers (demonstration farms) to exemplify the newest methods for commercial agriculture. These centers create a positive learning environment for farmers, traditional (indigenous) methods and modern (commercial) methods are planted in the same locations. These sites allow farmers to compare different methods and measure yields and cost per unit. One FBLC is located in Ninawa province.
Potato Demonstrations: In addition to wheat, potatoes are an important source of calories for Iraqis. Moreover, Iraq imports approximately 700,000 metric tons of potatoes annually and there is an economic opportunity for Iraq to produce a portion or all the potatoes for consumption in the future. To advance the industry, the USAID-Inma program worked with two potential potato farmers to demonstrate modern technology such as planting and harvesting techniques with equipment in potato production. The potato demonstrations introduced advanced production technology with improved seed. One demonstration site was located in Ninawa and the field day was attended by twenty farmers during the harvest period. The activity created up to twenty jobs and resulted in sales of approximately $8,500.
Seminars/Workshops: To ensure the sustainability of agriculture development, the USAID-Inma program has held a number of seminars and workshops to develop the capacity of Iraqi agribusinesses and associations. USAID-Inma has held management seminars in basic record keeping, financial analysis (costs and budgeting), contracting, and marketing. USAID-Inma also held association management training workshops targeted at addressing the sustainability of agriculture associations. Five seminars and one workshop were conducted in Ninawa, which were attended by more than 180 participants.
Farmer Field School (FFS): USAID-Inma introduced the Farmer Field School (FFS) methodology in Iraq. It is a group-based hands-on learning process. There are five basic aspects of the FFS, including adult education, facilitation, plant-animal life cycles, group study and farmer group development. The objective of the FFS is to help farmers analyze their production system, identify obstacles, and find possible solutions suitable to their farming systems, as well as introduce new technologies. Five FFS were conducted in Erbil province attended by approximately 150 farmers.
Sheep Breeding Project: To meet the increasing requirements for red meat and the demand for feeder lambs in the confined feeding facilities more sheep are required. USAID-Inma is working with the Zanabeq Al-Hakel Women’s Association and the Order of Saint Hormizd Monestary Orphanage in Ninawa. The program also provided 40 members of the women’s association with 200 head of sheep and the orphanage with 125 head of sheep. USAID-Inma is continuing to support these two projects by providing concentrate feed and a training program for the field staff regarding nutrition, animal handling, and basic training in sheep breeding. to increase the number of sheep produced in Iraq. The USAID-Inma program is providing the tools and technical assistance needed for the management of a sustainable business. These results have encouraged the widows and orphans and had a positive economic impact on their lives.