In a sign of ICARDA’s growing ties with China, the Center recently hosted a delegation of leading Chinese scientists at its offices in Beirut, Lebanon, and Amman, Jordan. The researchers, from the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS), discussed on-going and future collaborations, and a joint proposal for funding to initiate projects on supplemental irrigation, crop productivity, and crop-livestock production systems.
ICARDA and CAAS have a long-standing partnership stretching back to the early 1980s, incorporating a wide range of activities – from capacity development to crop improvement and the exchange of germplasm. The delegation, led by Dr. Zhang Yanging, met with ICARDA’s senior management, including the Center’s Director General, Dr. Mahmoud Solh, and senior scientists covering the breadth of ICARDA’s research portfolio: crop improvement; integrated water and land management; geoinformatics; diversification and sustainable intensification; and social, economic, and policy research.
CAAS scientists also visited research stations where ICARDA has continued to carry out its research activities following the operationalization of the Center’s decentralization strategy – Mushager Research Station in Jordan and Terbol Station in the Beka’a Valley, Lebanon.
The visit and discussions helped to crystallize thinking on a series of collaborative activities that both organizations will take forward over the coming years, including: using conservative agriculture to enhance wheat and maize production; scientific exchange programs; and initiatives to enhance ‘system’ approaches to agricultural research in China. It was also agreed that ICARDA’s South Asia and China Regional Program hold its coordination meeting in China in June, 2014.
Finally, the delegation discussed the activation of the Center of Excellence for Dryland Agriculture (CEDA) in Beijing, a collaborative platform for agricultural research established by CAAS, ICARDA and ICRISAT, which is implementing a research agenda for China’s dry areas. ICARDA/CAAS priority areas within the CEDA framework include enhanced eco-intensification to improve crop productivity, strengthened crop-livestock production to improve resilience and livelihoods, and the development of improved varieties of barley and faba bean. Over the coming years, it was agreed that CEDA would also initiate partnerships with other Chinese institutions and serve as a center for training and staff exchange.
The CAAS delegation discussed on-going and future collaborations with ICARDA management and senior scientists