New report: Climate change a major threat to farm competitiveness in Iraq, but opportunities emerging too
Climate change hazards are affecting the competitiveness of farmers and agribusiness in Iraq, according to a new report by the International Trade Centre (ITC). Although the number of farmers adopting sustainable farming practices is increasing, resilience to climate change is constrained by weak markets for climate adapted seeds and water efficient technologies, lack of climate-proofed infrastructure and limited access to finance.
These findings are detailed in the report “Climate Change risks and opportunities in Iraqi agri-food value chains” published as part of the European Union (EU) funded ITC project “Strengthening the agriculture and agri-food value chain and improving trade policy in Iraq” ( SAAVI).
The report maps out key climate change risks affecting the tomato and animal products value chains in Iraq and quantifies their impacts on sector competitiveness.
Climate and environmental risks for agribusiness are pervasive in Iraq. The main risk is the scarcity and poor quality of water, due to regional climate-change, a lack of international water regulation, poor water management practices and ageing infrastructure.
Other environment-related hazards include degraded soils, animal stress from high temperatures, and an absence of cold storage and transport equipment. These risks reduce agri-business competitiveness as farmers and businesses cope with crop failures and livestock losses, high input prices and post- harvest losses. All of this hampers farm productivity, limiting investment in adaptation measures and threatening product safety and quality.
Building resilience to climate risks requires access to finance, inputs such as climate-adapted seeds, water efficient technologies and extension services, all of which are weak in Iraq. Despite these challenges, the report finds that farmers and agribusiness are adopting basic yet effective solutions for adaptation to climate change
There is potential for Iraq to meet the growing demand for climate related goods and services, for example organic greenhouse farming and water purification services, and there are key roles for young entrepreneurs to play in fostering innovation in these markets.
Strengthening the Agriculture and Agri-food Value Chain and Improving trade policy in Iraq (SAAVI) project contributes to inclusive economic growth and job creation, particularly for youth, by improving Iraq’s agriculture competitiveness and supporting trade development. The project began in November 2020, with a budget of EUR 22.5 million, is funded by the European Union (EU) and implemented by ITC..
The project forms part of the overall EU special measure for supporting employment creation and improving economic governance in Iraq.