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Australia to strengthen Iraqi agricultural sector.



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The Hon Stephen Smith MP AUSTRALIAN MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Media release

24 September 2008

Australia to strengthen Iraqi agricultural sector At the United Nations in New York this week I discussed with Iraqi Foreign Minister Zebari Australia’s commitment to strengthening agricultural management in Iraq.

Australia will provide $4.7 million for agricultural research and development over the next three years to encourage farmers in northern Iraq to adopt conservation cropping methods in dryland agriculture.

Australia, a world leader in agricultural practices such as conservation cropping, will provide expertise to help develop low-cost, high-yield farm management systems that decrease soil erosion while contributing to greater yields. The project will also include the introduction of new crop varieties and machinery for Iraqi farmers.

This initiative will also build on the longer-term capacity of Iraq’s scientific community for agricultural research and innovation. This capacity-building began in 2005 with linkages between Iraqi scientists and international crop science in Australia.

This new project will provide training for more than 90 Iraqi scientists.

Australia will deliver the project through the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) in partnership with AusAID. The International Centre for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) will head the project on the ground in coordination with a number of leading Australian and Iraqi Government and University institutions.

Given the security situation in Iraq the project will be based at ICARDA in Aleppo, Syria, with the implementation of the project in Iraq to be managed by Iraqi institutions.

Enhancing Iraq’s agricultural sector is a high priority for both the Governments of Australia and Iraq.

Media inquiries: Mr Smith's office 02 6277 7500 - Departmental Media Liaison 02 6261 1555

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25/09/2008 http://www.foreignminister.gov.au/releases/2008/fa-aa0857.html