Helping farmers earn more from salt-affected land, water resources
The International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA) has recently completed a project aimed at supporting the development of value chains for quinoa and Salicornia in Egypt and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to boost the economic resilience of farming communities in marginal areas.
As a result, around 3,000 people, including farmers, agripreneurs and extension staff, benefitted from capacity development, technology transfer and other activities.
Funded by HSBC, the project focused on climate-smart agricultural entrepreneurship in Egypt; unconventional sustainable farming approaches for salt-affected regions of Egypt; and capacity development in integrated farming in the UAE.
Under the project titled “Food for the Future II - Building Sustainable Networks and Unleashing Entrepreneurial Potential of Farming Communities Living in Marginal Areas”, ICBA worked with its local partners in the two countries to help farmers make the most of salt-affected land and water resources by cultivating quinoa and Salicornia and using integrated farming approaches.
In Egypt, ICBA collaborated with the Desert Research Center on promoting quinoa production among farmers and developing a value chain in the New Valley Governorate, and with the Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation on introducing Salicornia among farming households in the Red Sea Governorate. As part of this work, five quinoa and six Salicornia genotypes from ICBA were introduced on 11 farms.
Around 2,500 people were engaged in various project activities and events in Egypt. The project provided some 350 farmers, including 250 women, with different tools and resources to enable them to sustainably grow food under marginal conditions.
What is more, nearly 30 quinoa- and five Salicornia-based products were launched and presented during various events.
ICBA also hosted a series of online training courses between February and April 2021, which were attended by about 500 participants from 49 countries, of whom 30 percent were women.
The series covered such topics as soil and water sampling; irrigation management; quinoa and Salicornia production; on-farm fertilizer, pesticide and waste management; aquaculture; and marketing strategies in agriculture.
In addition to technical presentations and discussions, the series included pre- and post-assessment tests and informative video tutorials in three languages - Arabic, English and Urdu. All participants had access to about 26 video tutorials and tests using a mobile application called Smart Labour.
The series was organized in collaboration with Smart Labour, an educational platform, and local partners, including the Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority.