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Qassim has taken over the cultivation of his family land: every morning, he goes around his land, inspects the irrigation system, before harvesting his crop with his brother. Every two days, he goes to the market to sell his harvest, which gives him a sense of accomplishment and pride.
He grows different types of seedlings and seasonal vegetables such as eggplant, tomatoes and lettuce year round. In addition to increasing his production, he and his household now rely solely on his crops as their primary source of income: “I am having increase in production up to 50 kg of crops, which allowed increase in my income”.
For him, being able to produce his own food has also become a way to reduce his household’s expenses and focus their purchases on other necessities. He stated: “I am able to have my own food basket now, less expenses for the whole family my parents and children”. He also decided to help other households in his village to provide for their needs: “We are now are food secure, and supporting other families in my area, relying on our own production rather than exporting”.
It is recognized that food security and economic recovery form together the backbone of long-term post-conflict stability. Although the conflict has ended, sources of instability remain across Iraq, with economic stagnation affecting nearly every aspect of Iraqi society. An increasing number of Iraqis are being forced to rely on negative coping strategies, including falling into debt, switching to less expensive (nutritious) foods and consuming fewer meals per day, to deal with the lack of livelihood opportunities.
In Al-Qurna District and Al-Dair District, the direct impact of climate change on the resources available to the communities has affected and strained the population’s opportunities while increasing their needs.
The first outcome of climate change is the decrease of water supplies, mainly due to the reduction of precipitation this trend being aggravated by the upstream dams that have reduced the quantity of water coming to Basra. Moreover, the quality of the water is low, linked to the high level of salinization of the water but also to its strong pollution. This chronic issue has not been addressed for decades in Basra, with the area, remaining underserved compared to other areas in Iraq.
The above mentioned factors have drastically reduced the water flow in the channels – which are connected to the farmland. Such developments have had a knock-on effect in reducing the ability of farmers to continue agricultural activities. The drastic reduction of agricultural space has been further compounded by the dire condition of the irrigation channels, such as severe blockages.
On top of the issues related to the poor water quality and quantity, the recurrent use of pesticides and unnatural fertilizers in large quantities has drained the land of its resources and nutrients, leading to low yields and lower quality of the production. In addition, the farmers are facing increasing threats – such as recurrent drought, dust, or local fauna ( insect and bugs) , – which are jeopardizing their crops and are lacking of capacities and adequate equipment to be able to overcome the above-mentioned challenges, and have a sustainable source of livelihood and income.
Between August 2020 and April 2021, Action Contre la Faim (ACF) intervened in Al – Qurna and Al-Dair districts (Basra governorate) in order to enhance the resilience of vulnerable household – at risk of displacement due to the impact of climate change – through agricultural support.
This project was rooted in a three-pronged approach in order to ensure the sustainability and the efficiency of the action :
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