New food security project launched

July 15, 2010 at 7:33 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Regional food security project: inception workshop, Tel Hadya, July 2010

A major new project was launched this month, aiming to enhance food security in the Arab region. The first 3-year phase will target wheat-based farming systems in five countries: Egypt, Morocco, Sudan, Syria and Tunisia. The project is supported by the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development (AFESD) and the Islamic Development Bank, with additional support expected from other donors. The project inception workshop, held at ICARDA headquarters on 4-5 July, brought together heads of national research programs and senior scientists from each partner country, to develop workplans for the first season.

“Previous collaborative research has yielded excellent results,” said Dr Mahmoud Solh, ICARDA Director General, highlighting the example of Syria, where wheat production has nearly tripled in the past 20 years. “The project will build on these results to work towards productive, sustainable agriculture in the region.” He stressed the need to strike a balance between research and technology transfer, to ensure that new research products are quickly and effectively disseminated.

Dr Kamil Shideed, ICARDA’s ADG for International Cooperation and Communications, provided an overview. The project aims to improve output and productivity of wheat-based farming systems, and to strengthen national capacity by disseminating available, proven technologies, and simultaneously developing new ones. Scientists highlighted the opportunities offered by the project to share skills and resources, and bridge the substantial gap between potential and actual yields. They particularly commended the project’s inclusive nature, with national researcher centers involved from the early design stages.

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