September 24, 2008


Australia to help Iraq with dryland farming techniques


Australia will provide AUS$4.7 million (US$3.9 million) to Iraq over the next three years for research and development of dryland farming techniques, the country's Foreign Affairs Minister Stephen Smith said Wednesday ( September 24, 2008).


Australia, a world leader in farm practices such as conservation cropping, will help farmers in northern Iraq to develop low-cost, high-yield farm management systems that decrease soil erosion while contributing to greater yields, Smith said.


The project, which will provide training for more than 90 Iraqi scientists, will introduce new crop varieties and machinery for Iraqi farmers, he said in a statement.


Australia will deliver the project through the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research in partnership with the government's overseas aid agency AusAID, he said.


The International Centre for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas, or Icarda, will head the project on the ground in coordination with a number of Australian and Iraqi government and university institutions.


Given the security situation in Iraq, the project will be based at Icarda in Aleppo, Syria, with local agencies managing it in Iraq, he said.


Smith is at the United Nations in New York this week where he said he discussed with Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari his country’s commitment to strengthening agricultural management in Iraq.

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