Collaborative research in the Arabian peninsula

January 15, 2011 at 12:27 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Opening the meeting. Right to left: H.E. Abdul Latif Al Hamad, AFESD; H.E. Eng. Jasim Al Badar, PAAFR; and Dr Mahmoud Solh, ICARDA

ICARDA’s Arabian Peninsula Regional Program organized its 3rd annual regional conference in Kuwait, in cooperation with the Public Authority for Agricultural Affairs and Fish Resources (PAAFR). The conference, 20-23 December 2010, was hosted at the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development (AFESD) and inaugurated by H.E. Eng. Jasim Mohamed Habib Al Badar, Director General and Chairman of PAAF; H.E. Abdul Latif Yousf Al Hamad, Director General and Chairman of AFESD;  and Dr Mahmoud Solh, Director General of  ICARDA. About 45 researchers and extension agents from Bahrain, Emirates, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Yemen participated, together with ICARDA scientists.

Adoption of new technologies is growing. Field visit during the Technical Coordination Meeting

H.E. Al Hamad stressed the importance of agricultural research to the Arab world and especially the Arabian Peninsula; and noted that collaborative research in the region, led and facilitated by ICARDA, had produced excellent results. He also provided a brief history of AFESD financial support (alongside other donors such as IFAD and OFID): since 1980, the AFESD has provided US$ 6.5 million in grants to ICARDA’s regional program.

H.E. Al Badar said: “We look forward to receiving your recommendations… to enhance agricultural development and address climate change, food security and other challenges.” He also outlined Kuwait’s development plan for agriculture, where the main targets are to increase agricultural production, expand rangeland rehabilitation and increase private investment.

Dr Solh expressed his appreciation to Kuwait and PAAFR for hosting the meeting, and to AFESD for their long-term financial support. He stressed the need to disseminate modern technology for improving water and land productivity. “ICARDA scientists are familiar with the dimensions of the problem,” Dr Solh said. “We are working closely with national research and extension agencies to enhance agricultural production and to provide accurate information for decision makers.”

The 3rd Regional Technical Coordination Meeting was held from 20 to 22 December; 44 researchers from the seven partner countries presented their activities, and – jointly with ICARDA scientists – developed workplans and budgets for the next season.

The successful dissemination of hydroponics technology – an important project goal – was highlighted by Mr Mohamed Al Naeemi, a pioneer  hydroponics grower from Ajman area, UAE. He described, with detailed figures, how water and land productivity on his farm had significantly improved, once he adopted the new technology. The meeting included a field visit to the Abdaly area, where a number of private farmers have adopted technologies being promoted by ICARDA and its partners – hydroponics production systems, Integrated Production and Protection Management for greenhouses, and cultivation of irrigated Buffel grass for forage.

H.E. Al Badar (right) received Dr Mahmoud Solh and Dr Kamil Shideed at his office in PAAFR, Kuwait

Dr Kamil Shideed, Assistant Director General, International Cooperation and Communications, chaired the 3rd Regional Steering Committee Meeting, held on 23 December at the AFESD offices. The meeting was attended by 11 NARS representatives from seven countries in addition to Dr Ahmed Moustafa, Coordinator, Arabian Peninsula Regional Program; and senior AFESD representatives: Dr Samir Jarrad, Economist; Dr Asaad Moustafa, Consultant; and Mr Habeeb Behbehani, Engineer Expert. Dr Moustafa presented a brief report on project activities. The Committee reviewed progress made towards research and financial targets; approved the proposed workplan for the 2010-11 season.

Other meetings. In parallel with these meetings, Dr Solh met with the top management of partner organizations, including  H.E. Al Hamad of AFESD; H.E. Al Badar of PAAFR; and Mr Ahmed Osman, Director of AFESD’s Technical Department. The meetings focused on expansion of collaborative research programs to enhance agricultural development and food security in the region.

The meetings brought together the full range of stakeholders from seven countries

Steering Committee members with H.E. Al Hamad, AFESD Director General and Chairman (gray dishdasha, seventh from right)


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