Promoting conservation agriculture

April 25, 2011 at 12:32 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Trainers, on your knees! Dr Jack Desbiolles, course coordinator (left) and Atef Haddad, ICARDA research associate

The conservation agriculture project in Iraq, funded by ACIAR and AusAID, continues to build capacity among farmers, researchers, extension staff and agribusiness entrepreneurs to promote conservation agriculture methods to improve yield and soil conservation.

A training course on zero-tillage seeders was held at ICARDA headquarters on 22-28 March. It brought together 30 researchers, extension officers, farmers and machinery manufacturers from Iraq and Syria, as well as researchers and engineers from Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia and Turkey. The course was coordinated by project collaborator Dr Jack Desbiolles from the University of South Australia. It covered the design, construction and operation of tine and disc zero-tillage seeders, classroom sessions and visits to ICARDA research fields, local farms, and machinery manufacturers in El Bab and Qabbasin areas near Aleppo. Two previous courses were held in 2009. These courses have helped develop local capacity to fabricate and use effective, affordable zero-tillage seeders in both Iraq and Syria. Zero-till fields now cover more than 5000 hectares in Iraq, and more than 15,000 hectares in Syria – and there is considerable interest from other countries in the region.

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