FAO Strengthens Capacity Building of Agricultural Extension Workers to Support Buffalo Producers in the Marshes (Al-Ahwar)

On 2-3 February 2022 at the Center for Rehabilitation of AL-Ahwar in Al-Chbayish, FAO has organized a workshop for agricultural extension workers within the project ‘’Restoration and strengthening the resilience of agri-food systems in Southern Iraq’’ funded by the European Union and implemented by FAO in close cooperation with Ministry of Agriculture – Directorates of Agriculture in ( Basra, Maysan and Dhi Qar), the project aims to empower poor small farmers and vulnerable rural families in the targeted governorates through improving crop and buffalo productivity.

The workshop was attended by 20 agricultural extension people from all the districts of the targeted Governorates with the aim of developing their capacity and technical skills to implement livestock and feeding activities with a focus on improving the productivity of buffaloes. The training sessions were supervised by Dr. Chedly Kayouli, FAO International Livestock Expert, with the assistance of Dr. Mohamed Abdulradh, the technical coordinator of the livestock activities in the project, and Dr. Khaled Al-Fartousi, FAO Coordinator in the South. The FAO expert focused on introducing good techniques to improve the Buffalo feeding by using molasses to increase the nutritional value of low-quality local feed resources such as reeds, papyrus, various water plants, wheat and rice straw and corn cobs. He also lectured on introducing on large scale the technique of cultivating green fodders adapted to local conditions, and finally he explained the practical work plan to implement the project’s activities in the next phase.

FAO Representative in Iraq, Dr. Salah El Hajj Hassan, expressed FAO’s interest in contributing of the improvement of the agricultural sector in Iraq and creating job opportunities for the rural poor families. He indicated that FAO responded urgently to support the buffalo breeders in the marshes, who were affected during this season by the drought that led to a decrease in the water of the marshes with an increase in salinity and a multifold increase in feed prices.

Dr. Salah announced that FAO had purchased 3000 tons of fodder (1000 tons of wheat bran, 1000 tons of straw and 1000 tons of maize silage) to be distributed in the coming days to alleviate the suffering of 5000 buffalo breeders. He stated also that the organization is in the process of purchasing 3000 tons of molasses to begin distribution to 10,000 breeders in the project working areas in the south within a period of at least six months starting from the month of March 2022 at the latest.

The workshop was concluded in the presence of the Mayor of AL-Chabayish District, Mr. Kifah Shanawa, who thanked FAO for its support to upgrade agricultural extension staff in southern marshlands in a scientific and practical manner as well as in implementing concrete activities on the ground that effectively ease the suffering of buffalo breeders. He also expressed the readiness of the Local Government in the district of AL-Chabayish to provide all facilities to FAO to carry out its development projects in the district

Source: United Nation Iraq