Expanding collaboration in North Africa

October 31, 2011 at 1:35 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Participants in the 11th North Africa Regional Coordination Meeting, INRA, Rabat, Morocco

The major achievements of the NARS/ICARDA partnership in North Africa, the CGIAR Research Program on Dryland Systems (CRP1.1) and its implications for NARS-ICARDA collaboration in the region, and Libya’s request for ICARDA’s support, were among the various issues addressed at the 11th North Africa Regional Coordination Meeting, which took place at the Institut National de la Recherché Agronomique (INRA), Rabat, Morocco on 6-7 October 2011.
Around sixty participants, including NARS delegations from Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, and Tunisia; representatives of UNDP, the African Development Bank, FAO, the Islamic Development Bank, USAID, USDA, and the Arab Maghreb Union; and 15 ICARDA scientists and managers led by ADG-ICC Dr. Kamel Shideed gathered to set research priorities and discuss national agricultural strategies. They reviewed collaborative programs, focusing on managing water scarcity; integrated agro-biodiversity and germplasm enhancement; production systems; integrated pest management; value chain and income diversification; and empowering the rural poor in agro-pastoral areas.
During the meeting, Libyan partners representing the Libyan Agricultural Research Council (ARC) and Ministry of Agriculture requested ICARDA’s support for an assessment of the current state of the country’s national agricultural research and extension system, and assistance in rebuilding the country’s agricultural sector. “It is not clear today how many of the vital components of the national system, necessary for our national food production, are intact”, said Eng. Younes Shouayeb, Director of ARC. “Responding to Libya’s request, ICARDA is urgently sending to Libya seeds of wheat, barley, legume and forage crops for the 2011-2012 cropping season and priority has been given to Libyan scientists for training,” says Dr. Mahmoud Solh, Director General of ICARDA.
Other major recommendations from the meeting included: the need for better regional integration, joint research on adaptation to climate change and anticipatory resilient production systems, and capacity development of young professionals with special attention to Libya and Mauritania.

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