Improving farmers’ livelihoods in Iraq

March 31, 2010 at 11:10 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Technical planning meeting of the Iraq project. Ms Taghrid Lahham (center), IFAD representative, is flanked by Dr Saleh Bader, Director General of Iraq’s State Board for Agricultural Research, and Dr Kamil Shideed, ADG-ICC, ICARDA. Extreme left: Dr Nasri Haddad, Coordinator of ICARDA’s West Asia Regional Program, who is coordinating project implementation

Improved livelihoods of small-scale farmers in Iraq through IPM and organic fertilization: this project, funded by IFAD and implemented by ICARDA and national partners, aims to improve the productivity of date palm and wheat-based systems. The technical planning meeting and the Steering Committee meeting of the project (both held annually) took place in Amman, Jordan, in February. The participants included project staff, ICARDA scientists, and representatives from IFAD and FAO.

Progress made in the 2008/09 season was reviewed; budgets and workplans for the next season were presented, discussed and approved. Two new activities have been added to the research portfolio: control of Dubas pest of date palm, and a new research site in the northern region, targeting wheat-legume systems. Next season the project will establish linkages with other research/development projects in Iraq, to accelerate scaling up of successful technologies. One such linkage is with the FAO’s regional project on Integrated Pest Management (IPM). A joint program has been agreed, under which IPM methods will be promoted through a network of farmer field schools.

Dr Saleh Bader, Director General of Iraq’s State Board for Agricultural Research, said at the Steering Committee meeting: “Increasing food production is a top priority. The project has developed a team of highly qualified, committed scientists… in cooperation with ICARDA scientists we are certain the project will achieve its objectives.” Ms Taghrid Lahham, IFAD representative, was similarly optimistic. “I am delighted  to be part of this group and I look forward to even greater progress next season…. Success of the project – for which evidence is already available – will make it easier to attract donor support for agricultural development in Iraq.”

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