Background Brief - Agriculture
The Oil-for-Food Programme was established in April 1995 as a temporary
measure to ease the unintended consequences of United Nations sanctions on
Iraq's civilian population. The first Iraqi oil sold under the programme to pay
for humanitarian supplies, was exported in December 1996 and the first shipments
of food arrived in March 1997. As of 20 March 2003, the Oil-for-Food Programme
covered 24 sectors of need and had prevented the further degradation of public
services and infrastructure, making a significant difference in the humanitarian
Improvements in agriculture funded through the Oil-for-Food Programme
enabled large segments of the Iraqi population to supplement their diet at affordable prices.
In the central and southern governorates, the production of poultry meat and eggs
doubled. Veterinary vaccines had a positive impact on animal health and production, and maize and sunflower production increased by 25 per cent with the importation of seeds.
In the northern governorates, canal cleaning, new canal construction and the lining of earth irrigation and drainage canals,
resulted in significant land reclamation and the provision of more water for irrigation and livestock.
In its initial phases, the programme provided direct assistance to about 374,000 farmers.
As of 20 March 2003, the programme provided agricultural machinery and cleaned and
built canals. The lining of earth irrigation and drainage canals resulted in significant land recovery, provided additional water for irrigation and livestock and contributed to an overall increase in agricultural production. The establishment of plant nurseries
also contributed to the reforesting of large areas in the three northern governorates.
The provision of agricultural machinery, seeds, agro-chemicals, veterinary supplies and poultry feed
enabled communities to increase the availability and quality of local produce in the domestic diet.