Wednesday, 30 November 2016 10:08

Iraqi – Dutch Business Forum on Dairy

Under the theme
"the Netherlands is a believer in the agricultural potential of Iraq"

Baghdad, Iraq, 29 November 2016 – The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Iraq in cooperation with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Iraq today held the Iraqi–Dutch Business Forum on Dairy under the patronage of the Charge d’Affaires Mr. Jan van Weijen of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Dr. Hussein Ali Saud, Ministry of Agriculture Adviser for animal resources activity, and the FAO Representative in Iraq Dr. El-Zubi with the participation of the dairy private sector.

In his welcoming address, the FAO Representative in Iraq Dr. El-Zubi stated that Iraq's agricultural sector plays a key role in economic and social life as it represents 78 percent of the gross local production value. About one third of Iraq's population is working in the agricultural sector, which is therefore a source of livelihoods for around 11 million people in 2009. The most recent estimation, this year, by the Ministry of Agriculture has shown a clear reduction in the number of cows since 2009. This has led to a decline in milk production and impacted negatively on the milk and dairy products industry. Both the cessation of subsidies to producers of milk and the deterioration of productivity has resulted in the dairy sector in Iraq now significantly depending on imports from abroad, with imports comprising more than 90 percent of domestic demand, while domestic production meets less than 10 percent of demand.

Dr. Hilal H.M. Abdulqader, the FAO expert in livestock and dairy in Iraq, emphasized in his presentation that livestock is one of the main pillars of the economy in Iraq, and one of the most important species in Iraq is dairy cattle. If proper conditions were provided, the presence of a significant number of cattle in Iraq has the potential to double dairy production and dairy products produced locally. The current condition in Iraq in general, and the government institutions in particular, signifies the possibility of upcoming interim reforms as well as production and productivity achievements through the development of a medium-term plan (4-5 years) to be conducted at two stages, which depends on available production factors and aims to:

1. Prevent a decline in production and productivity

2. Develop dairy cattle’s production and productivity.

3. Establish a network of milk collection centres and organize farmers around these centres.

The forum included a discussion by representatives of the business sector that focused on business opportunities for the dairy sector in Iraq, challenges and problem solving, and private sector experience in both Iraq and the Netherlands.

In his closing speech, Mr. Jan van Weijen emphasized that the Netherlands is a believer in the agricultural potential of Iraq" These were beautiful fertile lands with tremendous potential… I have come to the old lands of Mesopotamia, I see not one river with fertile lands … but two … I am a true believer in the agricultural potential of this nation, and together I believe we can feed the entire Middle East from these lands.”

The event was attended by representatives of Embassies, national and international organizations, and the Iraqi private sector.


For more information please contact:
FAO Communication Officer Ms. Karen Coates
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Mowaffaq Al-Refai
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Additional Info

  • Agency: FAO

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