46th ICARDA Board of Trustees meeting held in Lebanon

December 10, 2009 at 10:53 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Opening session of the Board of Trustees meeting. Left to right: Drs Michel Afram, Guido Gryseels, Samir El-Chami, Mahmoud Solh and David Sammons

Lebanon – one of ICARDA’s two host countries – hosted the 46th meeting of ICARDA’s Board of Trustees in November. The Board meeting, held in Beirut, was also attended by the heads of the national agricultural research systems of Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine and Syria. It was inaugurated by Dr Samir El-Chami, Director General of the Lebanese Ministry of Agriculture, on behalf of H.E. Eng. Elias Skaff, Minister of Agriculture. “ICARDA is well known and widely respected in Lebanon,” said Dr El-Chami. “We are keen to continue and strengthen our partnership for the benefit of farmers not only in Lebanon but also other countries in the region. I would like to assure you of our continuous support.”

ICARDA works closely with national research and development centers in the country, particularly the Lebanese Agricultural Research Institute (LARI). Joint research stations in Terbol and Kfardan provide important sites for ICARDA’s crop improvement research to gauge yield potential, advance segregation generations and expose the germplasm to endemic diseases.

“We consider Lebanon to be the birthplace of ICARDA,” said Dr Guido Gryseels, Chairman of the Board. “Lebanon and ICARDA have been closely bound together since its establishment in 1977… this has proved to be an enduring and successful partnership. We greatly appreciate the support provided by the Lebanese government. The Board looks forward to an even stronger partnership, with expanded activities, building on mutual strengths.”

Field trials at Terbol station are helping to develop new high-yielding, better adapted crop varieties

During the opening ceremony, Dr Mahmoud Solh, ICARDA Director General, provided an overview of ICARDA’s collaboration with Lebanon and the broader West Asia region, and the role of Terbol research station in ICARDA’s work. Dr Michel Afram, Director General and President of LARI, described the Institute’s research and its ongoing expansion program, which will involve strengthening staff skills, broadening the research portfolio, and rebuilding facilities.

This water harvesting project in the Beka’a Valley is helping farm communities use scarce water more efficiently

The Board viewed these collaborative activities first hand during a field visit to the Beka’a Valley. The Board visited LARI’s headquarters at Tel Amara, and joint activities at Terbol research station and other sites. Terbol and the nearby Kfardan station complement ICARDA’s principal site in Syria in the development and testing of new crop varieties. The Board also visited ICARDA’s water harvesting project in Deir Al-Ahmar and a women’s cooperative where they learned about income generating activities developed from agricultural products.

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