Iraq - Agriculture damage and loss needs assessment, September 2017
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The agriculture sector is vital to Iraq’s economy and has been the second largest contributor to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has escalated armed activities in the summer of 2014 at a particularly crucial time in the agricultural calendar, leading to significant damage and loss to the sector.
Harvested wheat, barley and vegetables were lost due to population displacements, looting and the burning of grain bins. Farmers were unable to plant for the next agricultural season. According to a research conducted in March 2016, Iraq has lost 40 percent of agricultural production since ISIL began occupying some of the most important agricultural areas in 2014, with damages continuing from the current armed conflict.
In this context, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has conducted an agricultural damage and loss needs assessment across six of Iraq’s 18 governorates – Anbar, Babil, Diyala, Ninewa, Salah al-Din and Wassit. Between December 2016 and January 2017, the assessment collected field data through community-level focus group discussions and key informant interviews.
The need to revitalize agricultural activities and livelihoods across these areas is unquestionable – not only for the communities in these regions, but for Iraq as a whole, given the role that agriculture plays in the livelihoods of the rural population.