On August 3-4, 2016, a delegation of the International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA) led by Dr. Ismahane Elouafi, Director General, paid a series of official visits to partner organizations in Sudan.
The delegation held several meetings with senior officials at the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA), the Arab Organization for Agricultural Development (AOAD), and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry of Sudan.
During a meeting with Dr. Sidi Ould Tah, Director General of BADEA, and other senior officials on August 3, 2016, Dr. Ismahane Elouafi praised long-running collaboration with BADEA in different areas, and in particular in capacity-building in African countries. Since 2007, BADEA has supported many ICBA-led training and capacity-building programs for African scientists, extension services specialists, and government officials on, among other things, small-scale irrigation technologies in saline areas and reclamation of salt-affected land.
In this regard, the meeting discussed possibilities of BADEA providing grants to post-doctorate fellows from African countries to carry out research at ICBA as the Center is currently expanding its fellowship program and research opportunities.
Dr. Sidi Ould Tah added that BADEA will also continue to support training programs in collaboration with ICBA in English-speaking (Kenya or Ghana) and French-speaking (Niger or Burkina Faso) countries on modern salt-affected land reclamation methods through integrated soil, irrigation and crop management.
The parties also discussed preparations for the International Quinoa Conference, to be held on December 6-8, 2016, in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates. For his part, Dr. Sidi Ould Tah expressed his support for the conference and his intention to attend it.
On the second day, the ICBA delegation had talks with AOAD’s Director General Dr. Tariq al-Zadjali and other officials to discuss prospects for cooperation. During the meeting, Dr. Ismahane Elouafi briefed Dr. Tariq al-Zadjali about ICBA’s mandate and research work in different countries, particularly in Africa. For his part, Dr. Tariq al-Zadjali spoke of AOAD’s work and said that the organization focuses considerable efforts on agricultural development. He pointed out that AOAD works on crop and livestock production, protection of the environment and development of fisheries. He also said ICBA and AOAD could join forces to develop an initiative on forage and livestock production. The parties also discussed opportunities for collaboration in capacity-building.
On the same day, the ICBA delegation held a meeting at the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry of Sudan. During the meeting with H.E. Prof. Ibrahim El-Dukheri, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, and other senior officials, Dr. Ismahane Elouafi informed the minister of ICBA’s research efforts in marginal environments, in particular in salt-affected areas. H.E. Prof. Ibrahim El-Dukheri said that the ministry is interested in working with ICBA in salinity management as there are around 1.3 million acres of salt-affected lands in Sudan. Over the years, ICBA has worked closely with partners in Sudan to build the capacity of local researchers and extension services workers on salinity management.
It is hoped that these discussions will pave the way for increased cooperation between ICBA and research organizations and government agencies in Sudan, leading to joint efforts on improved food security and nutrition for marginal communities.