Q and A: Technical Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Agriculture, H. E. Mahdi Al-Kaisey
Technical Deputy Minister of Iraq's Ministry of Agriculture, H. E. Mahdi Al-Kaisey, talks about the constraints facing the country's smallholder farmers, and how the HSAD project will initiate the changes needed to raise productivity and rural incomes.
What are the constraints facing poor farmers in Iraq?
Iraq farmers suffer from a number of problems and obstacles. These include water scarcity for agriculture, poor mechanization, limited financial resources, high production costs - including energy and fuel – and weak agricultural services and marketing.
How will the HSAD project helps ease these constraints?
The HSAD project will contribute to the development of the agricultural sector through agricultural extension, increasing the awareness of farmers and delivering new technologies. The initiative will also work with partners at the Ministry of Agriculture to reduce production costs through strategic value chains.
How are these aims going to be achieved?
Goals can be achieved through extension programs, particularly farmer field schools. These can educate farmers on the importance of mechanization and modern technologies to increase production and reduce costs and losses in post-harvest operations.
What enabling policies are required?
We need to develop a policy extension program in Iraq that increases the knowledge of officials in the agricultural sector. We also need to apply systematic scientific research to inform the development of qualitative and quantitative data related to agricultural production – both plant and animal – and agricultural services, including the automation, prevention, and treatment of veterinary vaccines.