BAGHDAD, Iraq, Aug. 1, 2006— Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns and Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister Dr. Salam Zukam Ali Al-Zawba'i today signed a joint statement of intent to strengthen and broaden Iraq's agricultural extension system and universities through partnerships between U.S. and Iraqi universities.
"Agriculture can make a significant contribution to rebuilding the Iraqi economy," said Johanns. "This project is an important step in realizing that potential. For nearly 100 years, American farmers and ranchers have relied on agricultural extension for the training and advice that have made them some of the most efficient producers in the world. U.S. land-grant colleges and universities have the expertise to help Iraqi agricultural universities with their efforts to rebuild Iraq's food and agriculture sector."
Under U.S. Department of Agriculture sponsorship, this program is designed to match U.S. land grant colleges and universities with Iraqi agricultural universities to provide training for Iraqi faculty members on managing extension services and a variety of related subjects.
Possible areas of technical cooperation include production of wheat, barley, rice, fruits, vegetables, sheep and goats, animal health initiatives, and water resources management.
This initiative builds on other U.S. efforts over the past three years to help Iraq rebuild its agriculture sector. These efforts include private sector development, livestock and crop improvement, market development and water management.
While in Baghdad, Johanns is meeting with senior Iraqi officials, and with rice and poultry producers and traders.
Release No. 0273.06
FAS PR 0092-06
Ed Loyd (202) 720-4623