Successful extension workshop and delivery of extension program

HSAD recently held its first extension workshop in Erbil. Around 80 participants, including representatives from a variety of extension centers, attended the three day event to exchange their experiences.

The workshop succeeded in engaging a range of extension stakeholders, and in creating debates and awareness of the HSAD Program, global extension trends, and the types of reforms that may be applicable in Iraq. It also helped the attendees to build links with the private sector and gain knowledge of innovative agricultural production methods. The event included presentations and lectures from the State Board for Agricultural Extension, the University of Illinois, and a number of successful private investors. One of the highlights of the workshop was a brainstorming session on how to turn selected extension centers into role models for additional centers. This discussion generated ideas to improve the services offered by the centers.

Through its extension program, between April and June 2013,  HSAD delivered 37 extension activities at extension centers and farms across Iraq, in areas ranging from large cities (such as Baghdad and Basra), to rural communities in Salahiddeen, Muthnna, and Aldiwaniya. The activities run included training courses, field days, demonstrations, and symposiums, with participant numbers ranging from 10 to over 70 at each event, with a total of almost 1000 attendees.

This extension work engaged members of local communities as well as farmers, providing them with training in new technologies and access to a wide variety of knowledge and skills to help develop farming practices. The subjects covered included greenhouse cultivation, irrigation, disease protection, and breeding programs, as well as bee keeping, computer skills, and the importance of knowledge exchange between communities.