05 February 2020
  • development
  • food resilience
  • middle east

Improving Iraq's agriculture sector to contribute to stability

The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs is leading a promising programme in Iraq to develop the agriculture sector. “Iraq Horticulture Development Program - Pilot Project” aims at introducing farmers to recent agriculture technologies like climate-smart agriculture (CSA), efficient irrigation and open field agriculture methods. The programme aims at improving and increasing the production of vegetables and fruits hence, boosting the competitiveness of locally grown agriculture products. This will have a significant impact on the country’s deteriorated economy by providing more jobs and income. Stability to farming communities is essential to improve the fragile security in Iraq. Due to conflict and climate change impact, food security became another concern in Iraq, with the potential to further deteriorate instability. We believe that introducing local farmers to contemporary agriculture practices will have a noticeable impact on improving the security situation by contributing to the livelihood of vulnerable communities in Iraq like farmers.

This brochure is written by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs   

Iraq Horticulture Development Program - Pilot Project

Increasing Competitiveness and Productivity in Iraq Horticulture Sector 


Successive internal and external political turmoil, terrorism and poor governance has regressed Iraq’s development, economic growth and competitiveness on multiple fronts. The country is now struggling to overcome significant challenges ranging from humanitarian crisis, deteriorating infrastructure, and to stimulate its economy by decreasing its dependence on oil exports and imports of major commodities specifically food items. 

 The Iraq Horticulture Development Program implemented by ECO Consult and funded by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation is a four-year project to increase the horticulture sector competitiveness and expand opportunities in the value chain through adopting farming practices and technologies. 

The program focuses on improving the performance of the horticulture sector and expanding the opportunities in the vegetables sector using innovative climate smart agriculture (CSA), protected greenhouses, effective open field agriculture, irrigation efficiency, and improved postharvest chains. This will directly contribute to enhancing sector competitiveness, increasing resilience of market systems, and enhancing the knowledge base among partner organizations on sustainable agriculture practices. 

 Why is the Horticulture Development Program significant? 

Iraq Horticulture faces different challenges which limit economic outputs and social benefits. Deployment of efficient technologies, introducing new varieties, improving irrigation efficiency, advancing open field cultivation practices and using protected farming under greenhouses are urgent needs. The immediate benefits are significant: reduce horticulture imports, improve farmers and community resilience, enhance competitiveness of Iraqi agriculture products, job creation and ultimately contribute to international obligations on climate adaptation. 

A cluster of interventions are essential to demonstrate different systems and technologies, build awareness and knowledge of counterpart organizations and enhance capacity, organize value chains of major horticulture products from cultivation to markets through postharvest and increase consumer awareness of healthy and sustainable farming products. 

Project Objectives 

  • Introduce and showcase innovative farming technologies that are best suited for the Iraq climate. Those technologies will demonstrate efficient farming techniques to enable farmers achieve high quality and high yield products 
  • Create market linkages and optimize post-harvest value chains of the horticulture sector 
  • Enhance the knowledge base among counterparts and partner organizations in efficient and sustainable horticulture management 

Project Features and Implementation Approaches 

  • Supporting linkages and cooperation among partners in the Netherlands, Jordan and Iraq 
  • Channeling Dutch innovations and technologies in cultivation and postharvest systems to the Iraqi markets 
  • Building joint research and knowledge platforms in the region to tackle specific challenges 
  • Building on existing infrastructure and systems in Jordan, provide access to Iraqi farmers, engineers, and researchers for training and placement programs 
  • Focusing the pilot project on high-value interventions that will bring immediate benefits to the sector 
  • Building capacities and enhance skills for continuous improvements 
  • Progressive and expanded implementation 
  • Leveraging resources to support the viable farming options and improvements in the horticulture sector chain 
  • Social inclusion and gender equality 

Photo credit: Megan Hansen/ Flickr