The HSAD initiative is working to improve the way in which new techniques and technologies are delivered to farmers – emphasizing the ‘for’ in research for development. But, how can this be achieved in a direct, easily understood way to optimize adoption?
Using modern communication tools and techniques, HSAD recently initiated a series of training sessions to equip Iraqi extension agents with the knowledge and skills to produce informative instructional videos targeting Iraqi farmers.
During the last quarter of 2013, HSAD ran a number of training courses, covering activities in extension, seed, policy, tissue culture, and integrated pest management (IPM). During October to December, 12 courses ran for a combined period of 60 days, involving almost 350 participants.
A new date palm tissue culture lab has been set up in Basra by the Basra Governorate. Following HSAD’s surveys and recommendations, the Governorate has upgraded and equipped the lab, which was approved by USAID on January 14, 2014. It is expected that the tissue culture lab will produce 500 plants in 2014.
Despite the commitment of Iraqi decision makers, ineffective regulatory and policy regimes are perceived as one of the most significant barriers to improving the country’s food security and agricultural production - a problem that partly stems from the limited capacity of Iraqi government institutions and their inability to effectively implement legislation or foresee the outcomes of official interventions in the economy.
In a bid to improve farmer access to new innovations, the ICARDA-managed and USAID- funded HSAD initiative recently sent senior Iraqi extension agents to a major international conference where they were able to share ideas and practices on participatory approaches to agricultural extension. The decision will contribute to a major aim of the initiative – to help Iraqi extension programs shift from ‘top-down’ to participatory approaches.
A coordination meeting in Erbil between HSAD and a team from the Iraqi Kurdistan Region Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources (IKR-MOAWR) has identified a number of initiatives to help build productivity and incomes in the Kurdistan region.
One such initiative, a training course for MOAWR staff covering wheat breeding, seed health, seed storage, seed technology, and seed quality, is being organized for delivery later this year.
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