Egypt-ICARDA partnerships: focusing on food security

June 15, 2011 at 5:49 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Research partnerships between Egypt and ICARDA began in 1979 – and continue to grow stronger. These ties are based on shared goals, synergies, and the huge benefits – at both national and regional scales – of working together. The key priorities are food security (specifically, increasing wheat yield and production)  and water management (water-use efficiency and productivity). These were the views of the Egypt’s top decision makers, expressed at meetings with ICARDA’s senior management in Cairo in May 2011.

Ministers highlight shared priorities

H.E. Dr Ayman Abou Hadid (center), Minister of Agriculture and Land Reclamation, pledged continued support. Left to right: Drs Kamil Shideed, Mahmoud Solh, Ayman Abou Hadid, Magdi Anwar and Fawzi Karajeh

H.E. Dr Ayman Abou Hadid, Minister of Agriculture and Land Reclamation, has an insider’s view of this partnership: he was formerly President of the Agricultural Research Center (ARC), which leads the Egypt-ICARDA collaborative program. The Minister, together with Dr Magdi Anwar, head of the Ministry’s Central Administration for Foreign Affairs, met with an ICARDA delegation comprising Dr Mahmoud Solh, Director General; Dr Kamil Shideed, ADG-ICC; and Dr Fawzi Karajeh, Coordinator, Nile Valley and Sub-Saharan Africa Regional Program. The meeting, held in Cairo on 29 May, discussed how to build on previous successes to address Egypt’s top priorities in agriculture: food security, water productivity and farmer-market linkages.

H.E. Dr Hussein El-Atfy (left), Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation, pledged government support for research to increase water productivity

Efforts will focus on improving the productivity of wheat-based systems, increasing on-farm water-use efficiency, and promoting conservation agriculture. Two ongoing regional projects have components in Egypt: the Water Benchmarks Project, supported by the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development and IFAD, and the USAID Water and Livelihood Initiative. New initiatives are being planned: a research program on water-use efficiency, to be funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, and a policy conference on food security policy. H.E. Dr Abou Hadid suggested specific areas where ongoing projects could be expanded, and recommended that a new committee be formed to coordinate Egypt-ICARDA partnerships.

The ICARDA delegation also met with H.E. Dr Hussein El-Atfy, Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation, and Dr Mohamed Abdel Motalab, Head of the Ministry’s Planning Sector. The Minister noted there had been considerable progress on water-related issues, with Egypt hosting key research sites for regional projects. He also suggested that capacity development efforts be scaled up, with greater ICARDA involvement in water management training programs at the Ministry’s Regional Training Center. H.E. Dr El-Atfy said his Ministry would fully support the Water and Livelihood Initiative, and the proposed Australian-funded collaborative program on water-use efficiency.

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