Improving farmers’ livelihoods: date palm and wheat research in Iraq

April 15, 2010 at 9:15 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Project researchers survey wheat fields for Sunn pest infestation

ICARDA is involved in several collaborative research projects to strengthen agricultural development in Iraq. One such project, funded by IFAD, is helping to increase productivity of date palm and wheat using two effective, low-cost technologies: integrated pest management (IPM) and organic fertilization. The project has completed its first year of operations, with excellent results.

The project works with national research and extension agencies and farm communities in two agro-ecologies: rainfed cereal-legume systems in northern Iraq and irrigated date palm based systems in the southern and central regions. Research is conducted at four sites: Ninevah Governorate, Abu-Ghraib in Baghdad Governorate, Diwaniyah in Gadisiyah Governorate, and Erbil in the northern region.

  • Laboratory tests and field trials of IPM and other integrated control measures against insects pests (stem borer, lesser date moth, Sunn pest) and diseases (particularly ascochyta blight)
  • Trials to test and demonstrate optimal organic fertilization options
  • Socioeconomic studies to identify policy and institutional options to stimulate adoption of these technologies
  • Capacity development for national research and extension staff as well as farmers.

Environment-friendly fertilizer: producing compost from plant residues

In its first year, the project has completed review studies of different technology components, baseline studies in the target areas, and field surveys of key diseases and pests. Other studies focused on nitrogen-fixing bacteria, use of organic fertilizers for date palm, and production of compost from plant residues. Several training courses were conducted, in Iraq and at ICARDA’s headquarters in Syria. A farmer field school program was launched in the date palm based system, and will be extended to cereal-legume systems in rainfed areas.


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  1. Thanks for the blog. Keep it up.

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