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ICARDA’s capacity building efforts for managing salinity

01/11/15

Participants listening intently to Dr. Theib Oweis, Director, Integrated Water and Land Management Program

A week-long training course on salinity management was organized by ICARDA’s Integrated Water and Land Management Program (IWLMP) with financial support from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). Salinity, which causes gradual loss of farm and grazing land to rising salt levels in soil, is fast becoming a silent killer of agricultural productivity in the irrigated systems.

The course was well attended by national partners from Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Sudan and Tunisia, trainers from ICARDA’s different Programs and a visiting scholar from the United States Department of Agriculture. Training was imparted through an interactive and engaging format that included lectures, group discussions, case studies and group presentations by trainees. The course covered different approaches towards salinity management and the interpretation of solutions of long-term sustainability for agricultural production under saline conditions. A framework was introduced to understand the two main strategies regarding salinity management - controlling salinity and living with salinity. The impacts of the ‘solutions’ selected for salinity management were considered, and the different scales of salinity management were explained. Examples from other regions were used to describe the possible advantages and disadvantages of salinity management in the countries of Iraq, Egypt, Jordan, Sudan and Tunisia.

JICA and ICARDA have been partnering for building capacity of research institutions in the region for a long time. As a part of their collaborative efforts, ICARDA’s Integrated Water and Land Management Program has been conducting training on improving water productivity in agricultural systems along with JICA for the last 15 years. Each year the course has a unique focus. The next edition of the JICA sponsored 3-week training course on improving water productivity will be held in May 2016, with emphasis on rainfed dryland agriculture. Supplemental irrigation and water harvesting, which are popular topics for this training series, will also be included in the upcoming course. For more information on these courses, please contact Dr. Vinay Nangia, Agricultural Hydrologist and Training Coordinator, IWLMP.

Capacity building efforts of ICARDA include various short term project-specific courses, some of which are supported by JICA, and long term programs for university students which include supervision under the Arab Fund Fellowship Program. Between 2012 and 2015, ICARDA’s Integrated Water and Land Management Program conducted a total of 83 training programs that were attended by 1290 participants, out of which 964 were men and 336 women.

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