July 25, 2011

Mosul – Iraq – On July 25, 2011, Mr. George N. Sibley, Team Leader of The Ninewa Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT), visited the al-Nahrayn Agricultural Association in the al-Qosh sub-district to inaugurate the distribution of seed cleaning machines to a number of farmers and agricultural associations as part of a United States Government-funded program to improve agriculture in Iraq.

Mr. Bashar Yousif, the head of the association highlighted the impact that the donation would have in the province. “These machines will benefit 90 farmers through 10 agricultural associations in different parts of Ninewa, and provide employment opportunities for many more. I ask the United States Representative to convey the thanks of the Iraqi people to the Government and people of the United States” Mr. Yousif said, while also expressing hope for further U.S. assistance and partnership in region. “We ask for continued American investment and support for our agricultural associations in order to benefit from the U.S farming experience.”

Mr. Sibley noted the $216,000 project would benefit minority displaced families from the various ethnicities and religions that make up farming associations and cooperatives in Ba’sheeqa, Hamdanyia and Tallkayf. “These seed cleaners will improve the quality of seeds sold which translates into more money for farmers” said Mr. Sibley, adding that the project also includes initiatives to ensure the cleaners would operate well into the future. “The PRT will fund a safety and maintenance program to farmers for the safe upkeep of the machines.”
Mr. Sibley explained that the project was part of an enduring partnership between the United States and Iraq under the Strategic Framework Agreement. “This agreement,” said Sibley, “is based on a mutual desire for friendship and cooperation between Iraq and the United States, and includes a commitment to improving agricultural capacity in Iraq.”
Mr. Basim Bello, the Mayor of Tallkayf, explained how the work of the PRT had led to the growth of agricultural cooperatives in the province. “Initially, a meeting between local farmers and the PRT led to the creation of agricultural societies, one of which is the Al-Nahrayn Association,” he said. “This encouraged others to form associations and NGOs run by people of both genders. We as a local government are willing to support all these societies and NGOs and I thank the American people for this gift through the PRT Leader.”
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