Uzbekistan convened an international conference of high-Level political figures, donors, developmental organizations and leading agricultural researchers in June at its international conference on food security and improved agricultural production. CGIAR and ICARDA were invited to provide input to strategy and technical sessions, sharing its expertise of supporting drylands countries to improve their livelihoods. The meeting was opened by the President of Uzbekistan, Islam Karimov and FAO Director General Jose Graziano de Silva. Further keynote presentations were given by senior member of the Asian Development Bank, Islamic Development Bank, World Bank, the European Union and Uzbekistan’s Minister of Agriculture, H.E. ICARDA’s Dr Kamel Shideed attended the meeting representing the center and CGIAR.
ICARDA also provided its expertise to the debate in a session on applying science and technology for improved vegetable and grape productivity, moderated by Uzbek Minister of the Economy, H.E. Galina Saidova together with Dr. Kamel Shideed. The session presented and discussed approaches of agricultural research centers in China, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia the UK and Uzbekistan. Opening the session, Dr. Shideed set the scene by summarizing the task faced by all drylands countries that aspire to improve sustainable intensification of their agricultural production systems: “We can no longer pursue ‘efficiency-productivity’ targets at the expense of the social and environmental aspects of food production systems,” he commented. Moving research and technical innovation into the hands of small holder farmers is the challenge before the development community, and an important factor in driving national economic growth, he said. Participants in this session had a wide-ranging discussion, sharing experience on genetic improvement of vegetables, on value added processing and production approaches, seed multiplication techniques and the efficient management of natural resources.
Uzbek Minister of Economy, Galina Saidova and ICARDA's Assistant Director General, Kamel Shideed lead discussion on increased productivity and food security of vegetables, to inform the national food program.