Combating salinity in Iraq

June 4, 2012 at 6:56 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Technical and Steering Committee meetings of the Iraq salinity project, 22-25 April, Amman

Partners worth their salt. Researchers, development experts and policy makers work together to find long-term solutions to salinity-induced soil degradation

Soil salinity management in central and southern Iraq: this multi-partner research project, led by ICARDA, is helping to address one of the biggest threats to food security in Iraq. One-fourth of the country’s farmland is severely affected; soil salinity levels are so high that cultivation is difficult or impossible. The project is funded by governments of Australia (through the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research) and Italy.

The Technical and Steering Committee meetings brought together all project partners: five government ministries (Agriculture, Water Resources, Higher Education and Scientific Research, Environment, and Science and Technology); two Australian organizations (CSIRO, University of Western Australia); three international research centers (ICARDA, IWMI, ICBA; and the project donors: AusAID, ACIAR and the General Directorate for Development and Cooperation of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. There was also high-level representation from the Australian, Iraqi and Italian embassies. ICARDA participants included Dr Mahmoud Solh, Director General; and Dr Kamil Shideed, ADG-ICC.

HE Dr Mahdy Al-Qaisi, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Chair of the project Steering Committee, noted that excellent progress had been made in quantifying salinization processes, building national research capacity, and providing policy makers with the information needed to develop long-term plans for salinity management. Discussions at the meeting also highlighted the opportunities for exchanging ideas with salinity researchers from other countries.

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