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Reconstruction Team Works to Improve Agriculture for Iraqi Farmers

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 29, 2007 – The Baghdad 5 embedded Provincial Reconstruction Team, attached to the 1st “Ironhorse” Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, is closely coordinating with the Inma Agribusiness Program to work with Iraqi farmers in the region here.

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A local sheik meets with Edgar Ariza-Nino (center) and Robert Dose (right), Inma Agribusiness Program coordinators, during a tour of the market in Taji, Iraq, Nov. 27, 2007. The Inma program was established to stimulate and support agricultural business expansion and help the region become self-sustaining. Photo by Tech. Sgt. William Greer, USAF

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The U.S. Agency for International Development recently awarded the contract for the Inma Agribusiness Program in Iraq to Louis Berger Group to work with the government of Iraq to support the development of agribusinesses and agricultural markets. Inma is “growth” in Arabic.

The group, consisting of livestock, produce and irrigation experts, toured the entire Ironhorse Brigade’s area of operations Nov. 27, scouting promising farming areas and developing ways for farmers here to maximize their overall productivity by improving the agriculture business.

“It’s to help build important relationships between farmers, agribusiness, financial services, and domestic and international markets,” said Ronald Curtis, the USAID agriculture advisor and program manager for the Inma project.

“It’s assessed by value chains; we track the product starting at the producer, follow it through the process it takes to make it useable, and all the way to the market,” said Curtis, who hails from Pocatello, Idaho. “We identify and isolate the weak chain in the process and make improvements.”

The program was established to help the economy grow and become self-sustaining.

“The project is going to stimulate and support private agriculture and businesses. We buy from Iraqi farmers and sell to Iraqi markets, providing more profit and employment for the region,” Curtis said. “The Iraqi business people want to expand and grow.”

(From a Multinational Corps Iraq news release.)

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Multinational Corps Iraq

Click photo for screen-resolution imageHermosa, S.D., native Army Lt. Col. Harvey Fitzgerald (left), a senior agriculture business advisor for the embedded Provincial Reconstruction Team 5 in Baghdad, attached to 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, and Robert Dose (right), an Inma Agribusiness Program coordinator, meet and discuss the cultivation of dates with a local business owner in the market in Taji, Iraq, Nov. 27, 2007. Photo by Tech. Sgt. William Greer, USAF  
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