Expanding ties with Lebanon

May 30, 2010 at 5:30 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

H.E. Dr Hussain Al-Haj Hassan, Lebanon’s Minister of Agriculture, gets a really close look at ICARDA’s work

H.E. Dr Hussain Al-Haj Hassan, Lebanon’s Minister of Agriculture, visited ICARDA earlier this month, to discuss plans for collaborative research. He was accompanied by a high-level team: Dr Michel Afram, President and Director General of the Lebanese Agricultural Research Institute (LARI); Dr Samir Al-Chami, Acting Director General, Ministry of Agriculture; and two senior consultants to the Minister, Dr Salah Al-Haj Hassan and Eng. Nizam Hamadeh.

The discussions focused around the current outbreak of stripe (yellow) rust disease in wheat in Lebanon and several other countries in the region, Sunn pest infestations in wheat crops, problems facing the seed sector in Lebanon, and the role that ICARDA can play in assisting government efforts to multiply and distribute seed of high-yielding, disease-resistant varieties.

The Minister expressed interest in launching a seed multiplication program in Lebanon and asked for ICARDA’s assistance in several areas: sourcing about 3800 tons of wheat, barley, chickpea and lentil seed; participation in a seed multiplication committee, together with representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture, LARI and the Ministry of Trade and Economics; and technical support to upgrade LARI’s seed health facilities. ICARDA will also help strengthen national capacity for seed testing, through a series of training courses in Lebanon and Syria.

The Minister was particularly interested in new rust-resistant wheat varieties being developed by ICARDA and its partners

As this was the Minister’s first visit to ICARDA, he was given an extensive tour of the Center’s facilities and experimental fields. His Excellency pledged full support for the planned expansion of collaborative research. “Lebanon and ICARDA have worked together for 33 years,” he said. “This partnership has led to many successes. I am confident that together, we will continue to produce new agricultural technologies for small-scale farmers, not only in Lebanon but throughout the region.”

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