Refugees given tools and training in northern Iraq

© iStock

A Germany-funded project to train refugees in greenhouse cultivation, beekeeping, hen production and food processing has been launched to help thousands of vulnerable Iraqis and Syrians.

The US$1.6m venture, organised by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, will be based in the Erbil and Dohuk regions of northern Iraq, where more than 3m Iraqis and 240,000 Syrian refugees remain displaced.

"Families are struggling, some resorting to reducing their meal sizes or the number of meals each day, selling productive assets, or buying food on credit," said Fadel El-Zubi, the FAO’s representative in Iraq. 

"Through restoring and providing alternative livelihoods, this project will support government efforts to reduce long-term dependence on emergency food assistance and enable people to recover as quickly as possible."

In the first week of June, 2,400 people from 150 villages received 9,600 hens, poultry feeding and drinking equipment, as well as 80 tonnes of feed.

These hens will be expected to produce some 1.38m eggs and 1,200 kilograms of broiler meat over the next year, to provide food for families and income from the sale of surplus eggs. 

Each family received 23 hens, which will together produce around 3,450 eggs and 30 kilograms of meat in a year.

Another 2,400 people will receive training, tools and equipment for beekeeping for honey production, and dairy and fruit processing.

A further 3,000 Syrians in refugee camps will receive training in greenhouse vegetable production. Each camp has been given 10 greenhouses to focus on growing tomatoes and cucumbers, due to high market demand. 

The income from vegetable sales will enable families to buy extra food and other necessities. Camp residents and people from surrounding communities will be able to purchase greenhouse produce over two vegetable seasons each year.

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