Wheat technologies for food security

May 9, 2012 at 6:39 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
Farmers, extension experts and scientists visit wheat trials at the Agricultural Research Center, Giza

Farmers, extension experts and scientists visit wheat trials at the Agricultural Research Center, Giza

Farmers, extension agents and researchers from six countries shared experiences at a travelling workshop in Egypt, organized by the ICARDA-led led regional project on Enhancing food security in Arab countries. The project is supported by the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, the Kuwait Fund, the Islamic Development Bank and the OPEC Fund for International Development. The four-day workshop included visits to wheat fields in two areas: project sites in several districts of Sharkia governorate, and demonstrations plots in Bani Souif governorate, established by Egyptian government agencies based on the project model. A field day was held at the Sharkia site, attended by over 100 farmers, the Governor, and the president of the Agricultural Research Center (ARC), which coordinates field research country-wide.

At each site, the workshop participants were joined by local farmers involved in the project. Farmers reported excellent results from improved technologies being disseminated by the project: high-yielding wheat  varieties resistant to stem (race Ug99) and stripe rust, fertilizer methods, irrigation practices and others. For example, use of raised-bed planting in wheat has enabled them to reduce seed rates by up to 50% and irrigation water by 30% with no loss of yield. The participants also visited ARC research stations at Sids and Giza. At Sids they viewed ARC-ICARDA trials of high-yielding, disease resistant, heat-tolerant wheat varieties. The trip to Giza included a hands-on training session on making plant crosses, and visits to field trials and greenhouse experiments on rust resistance. Judging from the enthusiastic feedback, these interactions have strengthened farmer confidence in the new technologies, and their relationships with extension staff. This augurs well for the technology dissemination component of the project.

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