A six million euro European Union-UN Food and Agriculture Organisation project will help vulnerable farming families in Iraq's northern Nineveh governorate recover from the conflict that devastated its capital, Mosul, and surrounding areas, the FAO said on Monday.
"The EU has responded promptly to the very urgent needs of the most vulnerable families that were affected by the conflict in northern parts of Iraq," said Fadel al-Zubi, FAO's representative in the country.
After a military offensive launched in 2106 in the surrounding Nineveh governorate, Iraqi and allied forces last year re-took Mosul from the Islamic State jihadist group, which seized the city in 2014.
"Thanks to the support from the EU, households will enhance their resilience and ability to cope with shocks by increasing their net earnings," Zubi said.
The EU-funded project "aims to increase household income while building, repairing and maintaining local infrastructure and creating communal and public productive assets," FAO stated.
Through cash-for-work activities, 1,250 households including women and other marginalised groups will be able to earn an income, directly benefiting around 7,500 people. Crucially, this will also enable farmers to access water for crop irrigation and livestock, through the rehabilitation and construction of water catchments, roads, river embankments and secondary canals, FAO noted.
"Once these important agricultural assets and irrigation infrastructure are restored, the project will provide water for 70,000 hectares of currently unproductive land that can be used for winter wheat crops, and the spring and autumn vegetable seasons," said Zubi.
"This means 30,000 vulnerable farming households (180,000 people) will be able to produce food on their land again," he underlined.
Many of the families taking part in the project's cash-for-work component have no other income, FAO said.
Humanitarian needs remain in Iraq, where FAO is working closely with the government to aid rural families returning to areas of the country retaken from IS, the internally displaced, host communities and refugees from Syria, the UN agency aid.
The joint EU-FAO project is funded by the Madad Fund - a regional trust fund set up by the EU in response to the Syrian crisis. The project is part of FAO's Recovery and Resilience Programme, which helps reduce chronic, or acute food insecurity, malnutrition, poverty in Iraq's agriculture sector, FAO said.
FAO needs 10.2 million dollars this year to aid 116,100 farmers with livestock, plant pest outbreak control and food security coordination. In the longer term it requires 76 million dollars to help 1.6 million people by rebuilding the agriculture sector, water systems and communities, FAO concluded.