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Mentoring the next generation of young scientists

May 07,2017

Investing in young agricultural scientists and equipping them with relevant knowledge and skills can help resource-poor countries achieve food and nutrition security for generations to come.

Two visiting PhD students – Basel Fayez Yousef Khader of Jordan and Mohamed Khalid of Iraq – have recently conducted their research under the supervision of ICARDA scientists.

On 30 April 2017, Mr. Basel Khader, supervised by professor Mahmud Duwayri, University of Jordan, and Dr. Yigezu Atnafe Yigezu, ICARDA, defended his PhD dissertation on food loss and food waste in Jordan. According to his study, Jordan is losing 44% and 49% respectively of total protein and energy for every US$1 spent on bread that is fed to animals instead of equivalent value of barley. The postharvest losses, particularly, processed food wastes that are used as animal feed in Jordan are very high.

“Using bread as animal feed is not an optimal option for Jordan,” Mr. Khader stated. “This signals an urgent need for individuals, civil societies, NGOs and the government to make concerted efforts towards raising awareness and targeting food waste in households, so it would not be fed to animals or thrown into the garbage.”

“Land and water degradation are major concerns in Iraq since they lead to declining agricultural productivity, poverty and food insecurity,” said Mr. Mohammed Khalid, PhD student at the University of Bagdad. The theme of his research is linked to assisting policy makers in designing policy interventions that contribute to a sustainable intensification of the irrigated agriculture sector in Iraq.

Before coming to ICARDA to analyze his research outputs, Mohammed Khalid surveyed 266 farmers in Abu Ghraib and Yusufiyah, towns in Baghdad area, to assess the economic performance of the subsurface drip irrigation technology in comparison with the conventional irrigation system. Mr. Khalid is expected to defend his PhD dissertation by October 2017.

Both students’ dissertations have been funded by the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development (AFESD).