Press Release

FAO Iraq and MoA Co-Host Workshop for Graduate Agricultural Engineers

23 May 2024

Baghdad- 21 May 2024 - The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Iraq, in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA), and the Agricultural Engineers Association, is proud to announce a significant stride forward in enabling access to employment and loan opportunities for graduate agricultural engineers. This initiative is part of FAO's ongoing project to enhance business development skills for agricultural graduates. 

Under the esteemed patronage of H.E. Minister of Agriculture Dr. Abbas Jabr Al Maliki and following the training specialized courses aimed at enhancing agricultural engineers' capacities, a joint workshop was convened, aimed at identifying opportunities for   agriculture engineers to access loans and grants, enabling them to initiate their own projects.

The workshop was attended by the Technical Deputy, Dr. Mithaq Al Khafaji, FAO Iraq representative Dr Salah El Hajj Hassan, Member of Prime Minister’s Advisory Council (PMAC) Dr. Ibraheem Satar, Head of the Agricultural Engineers Association, Eng. Sadiq Jaafar, officials from MoA and over 60 agricultural engineers   who had already received specialized training in the agricultural sector and business development.  

This workshop focused on empowering participating agricultural engineers with the necessary information regarding available opportunities and the procedures for accessing loans and grants. Moreover, it facilitated collecting feedback on additional support needed for further follow-up and assistance. 

Discussions centered on the potential for trained agricultural engineers to make substantial contributions to the growth of the agricultural sector and the indispensable role of MoA in facilitating their seamless integration into the workforce. Attendees delved into the intricacies of loan mechanisms and eligibility criteria, with the aim of equipping them with the necessary tools to initiate agricultural ventures confidently.

H.E. Minister of Agriculture reminded the ministries’ commitment to support and following up with agricultural engineers, recognizing their important role in advancing agricultural capacities.  He also emphasized FAO's crucial role in enhancing the capabilities of agriculture graduates, particularly within the private sector facilitating employment opportunities, and fostering their contributions to agricultural development. 

He added: " Through coordinated efforts and training programs, we aim to harness their expertise to elevate our agricultural sector. This initiative aligns with the ministry’s vision to strengthen the national economy and achieve self-sufficiency."

"We are steadfast in our commitment to fostering an environment conducive to the flourishing of agricultural engineers within the agricultural sector through our collaborative efforts with MoA and Agricultural Engineers Association,” remarked Dr. Salah El Hajj Hassan, FAO Iraq Representative. 

FAO, along with its partners, continues to support agricultural engineers to enable them to gain a better understanding of investment opportunities and overcome difficulties and challenges. The workshop emphasized the vital role played by the organization in this regard.  We also urge stakeholders and partners to join these efforts to further empower agricultural engineers and advance the agricultural sector.

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.

UN entities involved in this initiative

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

Goals we are supporting through this initiative