Thursday, 15 May 2014

Spreading the word on conservation agriculture in Iraq

An ACIAR project in the drylands of northern Iraq is increasing crop productivity, profitability and sustainability through the development, evaluation and promotion of conservation agriculture (CA) technologies. These technologies involve zero-tillage, stubble mulching, improved crop cultivars and better crop management of wheat, barley, pulses and forage legumes.
Dr. Asma Zuhair Younes Al-Hafdh at the extension workshop
(photo: S. Loss)

A few weeks ago the project team ran a CA Participatory Extension course for 23 Iraqi extension workers. They heard many encouraging stories about the increasing awareness of CA and the keenness of farmers to test zero-till seeders on their land.

Dr. Asma Zuhair Younes Al-Hafdh from the Department of Extension at the University of Mosul has been spreading the word on CA in Iraq, and gauging farmer opinions about the potential of the new technology to reduce costs and boost crop production. She has also been speaking to tomorrow's farmers: children in rural schools.

Dr Al-Hafdh teaching children about CA
(photo: S. Loss)
 Dr. Al Hafdh says “Children in rural areas are familiar with the farming operations and they are interested to learn that ploughing the soil is not necessary to grow a successful crop.”

Australian funding for this project will conclude later this year. Building capacity of extension workers and educating the next generation about CA and its benefits will help deliver long-lasting impacts beyond the life of the project. 

By Dr Stephen Loss (Project Leader) and Joy Hardman (Crop Improvement and Management Program Support) 

More information:
ACIAR project Promoting conservation cropping in the drylands of Northern Iraq, led by the International Center for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas. 
Blog piece Zeroing in on no-till farming in Iraq 
News item Helping Iraqi farmers adopt conservation farming

Partners magazine special edition on CA The dryland agriculture revolution
Fact sheet  Conservation agriculture to grow more food, efficiently and sustainably
Blog piece Growing more food, efficiently and sustainably

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