Press Release

FAO participation in the 14th Agricultural Week exhibition in Baghdad to support rural women

15 March 2023

Baghdad, Iraq – The 14th edition of the Agricultural Week exhibition was officially launched yesterday at the Baghdad International Fair, under the patronage of His Excellency the Prime Minister and the auspices of His Excellency the Minister of Agriculture.

Dr Salah El Hajj Hassan, FAO representative in Iraq, participated in the opening ceremony and welcomed the Minister of Agriculture at the FAO-MOA stand, where women beneficiaries from FAO-EU-funded projects showcased their dairy products. He highlighted the efforts in supporting these women and building their capacity, saying: “I am proud of the progress these women beneficiaries have made in milk processing and cheese production. Thanks to the EU support and the commitment of FAO and MOA teams in supporting and building their capacities, they are now able to produce natural, local, and new brands of dairy products with exceptional high-quality.”

The FAOR also highlighted the importance of this partnership “Those women, who fled their lands and houses years ago because of ISIL's takeover of their regions and facing not only the challenges of the aftermath of war but also climate change, are playing an important role in rebuilding their communities and livelihoods, bringing hope and employing youth."

Dr Chedly Kayouli, Senior FAO Livestock Expert who has been accompanying and training these women since the beginning of the projects, praised the quality of their products and new brands of cheeses and that the hygiene, high quality, and variety of the produced cheeses are exceptional and well appreciated by stand visitors, customers, and even restaurants in Erbil and other regions in Iraq.

FAO projects funded by the EU implemented in close collaboration with the ministry of agriculture and local governments aim to diversify and improve livelihoods while addressing climate change and water scarcity challenges facing Iraq through the implementation of smart agricultural practices to be more climate-resilient and contribute to food security and increase employment opportunities.

The Agricultural Week is being held during the period from the 14th to the 19th of March, the exhibition is an excellent opportunity to showcase the potential of Iraq's agricultural sector and the country's economic development. FAO is proud to participate in this exhibition and invites all colleagues from UN agencies and partners to visit and support these women by promoting their excellent local products.

Khawla Ben Aicha

Khawla Ben Aicha

Communications Specialist
Salah Elhajjhassan

Salah Elhajjhassan

Mr Hajj Hassan, a national of Lebanon, holds a Ph.D. in Plant Production from the University of Agriculture, Damascus, Syria; a Master of Science degree in Plant Production and a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Engineering, both from the American University of Beirut, Lebanon.
He started his career in 1984, as Senior Research Assistant in the Agricultural Research and Education Centre (AREC), American University of Beirut. From 1987 to 1991, he was Coordinator of the Student Training Programme, and also Agriculture and Horticultural Teacher for the Faculty of Agriculture, at the Lebanese University.
From 1991 to 1995, he worked as Agricultural Engineer at the Ministry of Agriculture, Bekaa Regional Office, Zahlah and was then assigned to the Agricultural Research Institute in the Tal Amara station, first as Head of the Crop Production Department and subsequently in charge of the Plant Protection Laboratory. From 2002 to 2006, he was Director of the Kfardane Research Station (Agricultural Research Institute). In 2008, he became Visiting Scientist at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT) and Coordinator of a project with the International Centre for Atomic Energy Agency, Vienna.
In 2010, he served as Advisor to the Minister for Agriculture of Lebanon. In 2011, he became President of the Pesticide Scientific Committee, Head of the Phytoplasma Committee and Director of the Agriculture and Rural Development Programme (ARDP) (EU-funded project). From 2010 to 2013, he represented Lebanon in negotiations with EU, Egypt, Jordan and Iraq. During his career, Mr Hajj Hassan also carried out a number of other functions. He represented the Lebanese Agricultural Research Institute (LARI) in several research programmes with the International Centre for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) and the American University of Beirut. He was Coordinator of the Mashreq/Maghreb project with ICARDA, representing Lebanon in the Steering Committee, as well as being the Head of the Sugar-beet Delivery and of the Wheat Delivery Committees. For a number of years, Mr Hajj Hassan worked for the preparation of FAO TCP projects and served as the National Director of a TCP project. He joined FAO in January 2014 as FAO Representative in Yemen. Mr Hajj Hassan succeeds Mr El Zubi as FAO Representative in Iraq.

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Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

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