USDA: Iraqis Want Exchanges in Agriculture
Iraqis working in agriculture want to establish partnerships and exchanges with US agricultural colleges and universities, acquire new technology and gain access to scientific information that can be shared with all of the country's farmers and ranchers, US Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman says.
Briefing reporters on November 14, 2003, just after returning from a trip to Iraq, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan, Veneman said agriculture plays an important role in the economic and social lives of a majority of people in the three countries, yet the sector has suffered from years of hostilities, neglect, under-investment and poor policies.
Veneman met with government officials and educators in all three countries. She said that all are making progress toward achieving market-driven economies.
“Iraq was once a significant commercial market for US farm products, with sales approaching one billion dollars in the 1980s. It has the potential, once again, to be a significant commercial market as its population enriches its diet with growing incomes.”
With a long agricultural tradition, Iraq has "enormous potential to provide a good living standard and higher quality of life for its 28 million people," she said. The country, she noted, has good natural resources and climate, an educated and enterprising population and a "useful" infrastructure that includes good roads in parts of the country that can be used to move goods, according to Washington File.
Veneman said Iraqis need access to the Internet as well as to teacher and student exchanges in order to tap into the latest information on research, practices and technology. She said the US Department of Agriculture is encouraging US universities to be partners in such exchanges. — (menareport.com)
© 2003 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)