Faisal's mushroom farm booms

Read how UNDP supported Faisal kick start his mushroom farm in Salah al-Din

October 2, 2022
UNDP In Iraq

Faisal holds a sample of mushrooms produced at his greenhouse.

Photo: World Vision

Meet 46-year-old Faisal from Tooz, Salah al-Din. He runs a mushroom greenhouse. With a loyal customer base and consistent harvest, his business is booming. He is married with five children.

This was not always the case for Faisal. He is originally a farmer from Abo Hassan, a village 14 km from Tooz. However, during the ISIL conflict, he was forced to flee to Tooz with his family. Overnight, his family was forced to abandon their home and farmland.

Faisal did not give up. To make ends meet, he worked as a daily wager. Faisal kept his family's spirits high and hoped to save enough money to restart his farm. "One day, you will thank yourself for never giving up," he says. He dreamed of starting a mushroom greenhouse.

Faisal received business development training and a start-up grant from UNDP. He received a five-day long business training course, followed by a grant of US$ 1,000. The project was implemented by World Vision in Iraq. 

The Mayor of Tooz had called upon families like Faisal's who were displaced by the ISIL conflict to register and identify their required support. Grabbing this opportunity, Faisal applied for a start-up grant or business development support. Afterwards, World Vision and UNDP shortlisted Faisal based on a pre-determined vulnerability criterion that considered his socio-economic situation and family's capacity to recover from conflict. 

On speaking to Malik from the project implementation team at World Vision Iraq, he says, "Faisal's enthusiasm for his business was evident. He always showed me videos about mushroom greenhouses. He studied every detail about mushroom harvesting."

When Faisal received the grant, he immediately started working toward establishing the mushroom greenhouse. After Faisal built the greenhouse, he produced his first batch of mushrooms.

Faisal's business is booming. He has established a reliable supply chain for the mushrooms he harvests. He has also been able to build a loyal customer base.

However, this is only the beginning for Faisal. He dreams bigger. He now plans to upgrade his greenhouse, increase production and diversify the types of mushrooms produced.

Today, Faisal has a stable income and can provide his family with an improved quality of life. Most importantly, he has inspired all those around him. Faisal’s 12-year-old son Ahmed* says, "I want to study agriculture and help my father grow his business and company."


The project is implemented by UNDP's Iraq Crisis Response and Resilience Programme, in partnership with World Vision, with funding from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), provided through KFW Development Bank. Over 980 people, like Faisal from Tooz, have received business development and grant support.

A version of the story was published on World Vision's website here.

*Names have been changed to protect identity.