Iraq salinity project launchedDecember 15, 2010 at 12:58 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
The government of Iraq, Australian funding bodies (AusAID/ACIAR) and research organizations, and international research centers have jointly launched a new research-for-development project to address salinity problems in Iraqi agriculture. H.E. Dr Mahdy Al-Qaisi, Deputy Minister of Agriculture, chaired the steering committee overseeing the project. The inception workshop, held at ICARDA headquarters, 5-9 December, brought together 60 scientists and administrators from multiple institutions. The 2-year project will focus on the Tigris-Euphrates river basins in central and southern Iraq. Project partners include five Iraqi ministries (agriculture, water resources, science and technology, higher education, environment); two Australian institutions (University of Western Australia, and Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization); and three international centers, ICARDA, IWMI, and ICBA.
“Sixty percent of agricultural land in central and southern Iraq is affected by salinity,” said Dr Saleh Bader, Director General, Ministry of Agriculture, Iraq. Despite the challenges, he felt confident the new project would lay the foundation for long-term efforts to increase and sustain productivity in salt-affected areas.
Dr Mahmoud Solh, ICARDA Director General, noted that the project would bring together Iraqi expertise and broad-based government support, Australian skills in managing salt-affected soils, and the experience of IWMI, ICBA and ICARDA in developing technologies for resource-poor farmers in dry areas.
The meeting helped prepare the ground for effective project implementation. The research framework at project components – at regional, irrigation district, and farm scales – were agreed upon, and specific responsibilities assigned to each partner institution. Technical and Steering Committees were also constituted to provide project oversight, and review and approve workplans and budgets.