ICARDA delegation attend World Congress

October 15, 2011 at 8:03 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

ICARDA’s Director General and senior management meet with officials from the Grains Research and Development Corporation, Australia, during the GRDC meeting

Aware of the positive impact of conservation agriculture on improving the livelihoods of the resource-poor in the dry areas, an ICARDA delegation participated in the 5th World Congress on Conservation Agriculture, held in Brisbane, Australia on 26-29 September 2011 to discuss various related issues.

ICARDA conservation agriculture scientists discussed the importance of conservation agriculture in dryland systems and focused on potential ways of improving and disseminating one of its key elements – zero tillage – in West Asia and North Africa (WANA).

At the same meeting, Dr Mahmoud Solh, a member of the World Congress on Conservation Agriculture Steering Committee, agreed with representatives from the WANA region to form a WANA network on conservation agriculture. They also agreed to convene a regional conference on conservation agriculture with Australia in the autumn of 2012. Dr Kamel Shideed,  was a keynote speaker and a panellist in the session on policy and adoption. He gave an invited keynote presentation on “Informing Policy Development for Sustainable and Productive Food Production Systems in Dry Areas.”

Dr Colin Piggin, Yaseen Khalil and Atef Haddad, agronomists from ICARDA, and Mr Sinan Jalili, a leading farmer from Ninevah in Iraq – who are collaborators in the ACIAR/AusAID funded project developing conservation agriculture systems in the drylands of Iraq and Syria – reported on the impressive uptake of zero tillage systems by farmers in these countries. Adoption in West Asia has grown from near-zero to over 27,000 ha in four years. Dr Piggin delivered a presentation on “Development and Promotion of Zero Tillage in Iraq and Syria” describing the challenges faced by the project, and the lessons learnt for future work to promote conservation agriculture in dry areas, while Mr Jalili shared his experience in modifying an importedseeder to suit local conditions in Iraq.

While in Australia, Drs. Solh and Shideed held several meetings with key donors and partners including ACIAR, GRDC and AusAID. In those meetings progress on on-going collaborative projects was reviewed and new potential areas for expanding the collaboration were explored.

Papers and presentations are available on the ACIAR web site (http://aciar.gov.au/WCCApapers)

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