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Johanns announces funds for Iraqi ag infrastructure support

Agriculture.com Staff 09/26/2006 @ 9:07am

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns on Monday announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture is requesting proposals from U.S. land-grant institutions to strengthen agricultural extension and training at Iraqi agricultural universities.

"Because much of Iraq's population relies on agriculture for their livelihood, the country's stability partially depends upon the agricultural sector's performance," Johanns said, following a meeting Monday in Washington with Iraqi Trade Minister Abd al-Falah Al-Sudani. "A strong extension system that responds to the needs of farmers, processors, marketers and others in agriculture is a key element of recovery."

The Iraq Agricultural Extension Revitalization Project (IAER) will provide extension training programs for Iraqi nationals. The training will enhance the agricultural management, production and marketing related to small and medium-sized production enterprises.

The effort was launched on Aug. 1, when Johanns and Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister Dr. Salamm Zukam Ali Al-Zawba'i signed a joint statement of intent in Baghdad. Training will be provided through partnerships built between U.S. land-grant universities and Iraqi agricultural universities in each of five governorates of Iraq.

The project goal is to build strong institution-to-institution partnerships to link American expertise in extension training and advisory services with agricultural colleges in Iraq and with Ministry of Agriculture personnel. Among the areas the institutions may address are arid crop production development, livestock production and animal health, and water resources management and irrigation technology.

The ultimate goal for all of these initiatives is to assist Iraq in developing strategies to rebuild and revitalize its agricultural and agribusiness sector. Iraq's agricultural sector is the second largest contributor to the national economy and employs one-quarter of its workforce.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns on Monday announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture is requesting proposals from U.S. land-grant institutions to strengthen agricultural extension and training at Iraqi agricultural universities.

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