Crop & Livestock

Efforts to sustainably tackle pest infestation continue to proceed

Over the past three months, HSAD has been researching and implementing integrated pest management (IPM) techniques for date palm. IPM is a practical and environmentally-friendly approach which combines an extensive range of techniques to control pest populations, and only advocates the use of chemicals when alternative methods have been exhausted, costs are not excessive, and there is no threat to existing agro-ecosystems. 

Boosting wheat production for greater self-sufficiency

A recent training course aimed at improving wheat breeding in Iraq, and Kurdistan in particular, brought together participants from Basrah, the Ministry of Agriculture, Baghdad, and the Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources (MOAWR) in Erbil, Sulimanya, Duhok, and Garmyan. The five-day course, held in Erbil from 1 to 5 September 2013, introduced participants to the fundamentals of wheat breeding.

Water harvesting: sustaining production in the dry months

A recent meeting was held between members of the Ministry of Agriculture, HSAD, University of Salahddinah, and Iraqi-Kurdistan region officials, to agree the management and implementation of a new water harvesting project.  Two areas close to Erbil were selected as sites for small water harvesting reservoirs. The reservoirs will store water that nearby farmers can use as supplemental irrigation for their crops. The sites will act as models for other areas. They will also facilitate research into the management of reservoir water. 

Cleaning seed for improved productivity

At a recent three-day workshop, held at the Qushtapa seed cleaning factory in Erbil, Ministry of Agriculture officials learned how to operate mobile seed cleaning machines. The staff who participated in the workshop will now train other trainers. This training-of-trainers (ToT) will speed the spread of small-scale seed cleaning technology to farmers and private sector operators.

Promoting sustainable and integrated approaches to pest management

Date palm is a key commodity in Iraq and an integral component of irrigated farming systems in central and southern parts of the country. In addition to its nutritional value, date palm is also an important source of feed and fuel, and can be used as a building material in the construction of houses. Despite its economic importance, years of conflict, sanctions and political instability have caused a significant decline in productivity. These problems are compounded by a further constraint – pests such as the Lesser Date Moth, the Dubas Bug, and various species of Stem Borer.