Government consultations advance Iraq’s Potato Sector Strategy
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15 May Erbil/Baghdad: As part of efforts to support the development of the potato sector strategy in Iraq, consultants at governorate level were held in Baghdad today. Another consultation was held in Erbil on 9 May.
These consultations constitute a milestone for drafting the potato sector’s national strategy as public and private sector representatives, including farmers, processors, traders, retailers, and agri-support business services, as well as development partners actively engaged in the discussions.
The potato sector holds untapped potential for growth as potatoes are expected to have the second highest future demand in the Iraqi horticulture sector after tomatoes.
The Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) is leading the preparation of the strategy with the technical support of the International Trade Centre (ITC) within the framework of the European Union-funded project, “Strengthening the agriculture and agri-food value chain and improving trade policy in Iraq” (SAAVI) and technical and advisory support from the International Potato Center (CIP).
The strategy will provide a roadmap for national stakeholders to improve the competitiveness of farmers and small and medium-sized enterprises in the sector. It will be accompanied by a detailed five-year Plan of Action with measurable and prioritized actions.
The consultations build on structured discussions with farmers and small businesses, as well as sector-level assessments, production site visits and targeted interviews. More than 500 competitiveness surveys focusing on agribusinesses and farmers and over 3,000 interviews were conducted at the national level with consumers as well as with representatives from various stakeholder groups, such as traders, wholesalers and retailers, to help better understand market demand, and identify areas of improvement and market opportunities.
These efforts build on the successful development of ITC-facilitated Iraq’s Tomato and Poultry Sustainable Development Strategies (2022-2026), under the leadership of the Government of Iraq. The strategies were endorsed and officially launched in July 2022 and are currently under implementation.
On the side-lines of the multi-stakeholder meetings, the National Core Team, a public and private sector coordination structure under MoA leadership, participated in working sessions and visited farms from the SAAVI agribusiness alliances with support from Norwegian Refugee Council. The Core Team provides guidance to the implementation of the strategies. It also oversees the design process of the potato sector strategy.
About the International Trade Centre’s SAAVI project: The ‘Strengthening the Agriculture and Agri-Food Value Chain and Improving Trade Policy’ (SAAVI) project, funded by the European Union, focuses on the development and implementation of sector strategies for high-potential products, as well as on defining market-oriented policies to improve predictability and efficiency in the business environment. SAAVI also helps enhance Iraq’s trade policy and supports the country in its WTO accession process.
SAAVI is implemented under the leadership of the Government of Iraq through the Ministry of Planning, Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Trade.
This project is part of the EU-funded Agri-food Business Development Programme (AfBDP). The European Union in Iraq funds international partners - the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the International Trade Centre (ITC), and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)- under the umbrella of AfBDP. Central to the AfBDP is an agri-food value chain approach that supports stabilisation and governance, while promoting sustainable and decent job creation.
About the International Trade Centre
The International Trade Centre (ITC, www.intracen.org) is the joint agency of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the United Nations (UN), fully dedicated to supporting the development and internationalization of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). ITC's mission is to foster inclusive and sustainable growth and development through trade and international business development. ITC is a UN Resident Agency in Iraq with Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.