Baghdad - conscious - Nassar al-Hajj
Today, Thursday, the United Nations World Food Program in Iraq revealed the repercussions of the Ukrainian-Russian crisis on Iraq, stressing that Iraq took several measures to mitigate the repercussions of the crisis, and succeeded in achieving stability in local market prices, indicating that the Iraqi government formed a committee to develop a food security strategy, while He indicated that he had prepared a program to develop and develop rural areas to preserve agriculture, prevent reverse migration and provide water sources.
The representative of the World Food Program in Iraq, Ali Reza Qureshi, said, in an interview with the Iraqi News Agency (INA): "Iraq has gone through a number of challenges in the past decades, as data from the vulnerability analysis that the World Food Program collects shows that on March 31, it reached The number of people suffering from insufficient levels of food consumption is approximately 2 million people in Iraq, while there are about 2.5 million people who use consumption-based coping strategies, such as relying on lower-cost foods or food borrowing.
He added, "The Ukrainian crisis has brought many challenges globally, especially to food-importing countries, as Russia and Ukraine play a pivotal role in the global food supply chain, as both countries are exporters of a few basic grain crops such as wheat, corn and barley, in addition to being sources of dominant over vegetable sunflower oil.
He pointed out that "the interruption in food supplies coming from these two countries contributed to the increase in the prices of the global food market, and Iraq was directly affected, as it is a complete food importer," explaining, that "by the end of March, vegetable oil prices rose by 22%." In Iraq in just one month, the annual increase reached 36%, and the average price of wheat flour increased by about 8%.
He explained, "The increase in prices directly affects the purchasing power of poor families, but Iraq has been able to achieve stability in market prices, in addition to the existence of the ration quota that provided basic foodstuffs to all citizens, and if it were not for its presence, the situation would have become worse despite the fact that The high cost that the General Distribution Program (rational ration) bears on the state budget, especially with the rise in prices globally.
He pointed out, "The economic crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and added to it by the recent Ukrainian-Russian crisis, as it is imperative for Iraq to diversify its economy, as it cannot be relied on only oil imports."
He continued, by saying: "The Iraqi government has formed a food security committee that is currently working on the national food security strategy for Iraq, and the World Food Program supports the Food Security Committee, especially in the field of exposing evidence and contributing to informed decision-making."
He stressed, "The general distribution system for food rations (the ration) is an important social protection network that contributes to controlling the prices of basic commodities through demand management. In the first three months of 2022, the ration items were distributed on a regular basis and the three distribution cycles were successfully completed. Work is underway to complete the fourth session.
And he stated, "Diversifying the economy and reducing dependence on oil exports is essential, and agriculture is the second largest contributor to increasing countries' GDP and providing livelihoods in remote places. If the environment was not suitable for developing livelihoods in rural areas, internal migration would have increased" From the countryside to the city).
He stated, "The World Food Program is working on a program to develop and develop rural areas in order to preserve agriculture and revive water resources for agriculture carried out by small farmers, and in order to build citizens' resilience by providing training and skills development, in addition to working to provide support locally." And nationally (through our offices extending from Dohuk to Basra) to provide assistance to all relevant authorities and decision makers and give them the necessary skills and tools to provide the best support to fragile communities.
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