22 January 2023

Annual Meetings of the Project Development of Sustainable Date Palm Production Systems in the GCC Countries Kicks off


Doha, January 22 (QNA) - The activities of the annual meetings of the technical and steering committees for the project development of sustainable date palms in the GCC countries kicked off today, which are organized by the Ministry of Municipality, represented by the Agricultural Research Department, in cooperation with the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) and the General Secretariat of Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf, and will continue until Jan.25, with the participation of a number of national coordinators, technicians and researchers from the Gulf countries, and experts and specialists of the center.

The Director of the Agricultural Research Department at the Ministry of Municipality Hamad Saket Al-Shammari, stressed the need for continuity of communication and exchange of experiences to achieve the most important requirements of food security for the peoples of the region, and to confront all the difficulties facing the agricultural sector, most notably the scarcity of water.

He said, in his opening speech, that the focus will be on important aspects, most notably the scarcity of water, and the best ways to reach good production in limited water conditions, and work to limit and eliminate the spread of the red palm weevil, as well as reduce lost dates.

For his part, the representative of the Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council states Othman Al-Jamea, in his speech at the opening session, thanked the State of Qatar for hosting these meetings and for the good organization, and he also commended the efforts of the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) in this regard.

In a statement to Qatar News Agency (QNA), the regional coordinator of the ICARDA program in the Arabian Peninsula Dr. Abdoul Aziz Niane, praised the great interest that the State of Qatar attaches to agriculture and the environment, stressing that Qatar is one of the founding countries for the project to support date palm production systems in the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council, and has been strongly supporting it since its inception 15 years ago, and actively participating in all research and studies related to it.

He valued the existing cooperation between the GCC countries and the Center regarding this project, especially in the field of managing date palm production systems in the Arabian Peninsula.

He pointed out that the project is being implemented in three phases, each of which will last five years, with a focus on date palms, in terms of research, technology transfer and capacity building.

He explained that one of the objectives of these meetings is to study the possibility of expanding the project to cover other areas, such as: glass heating, natural pastures, and irrigated fodder, stressing that the project is very important, and represents a leap towards the future in its field of competence.

He stated that the center is one of 16 centers distributed in different parts of the world, each of which specializes in a specific crop and topic, and therefore ICARDA specializes in agricultural research in dry areas that suffer from water scarcity, as is the case in the Arabian Gulf region. 

For his part, Director of the Agricultural Research Department at the Ministry of Municipality Hamad Saket Al-Shammari, said that the project to support date palm production systems in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries deals with three main axes: applied research, technology transfer, and capacity building.

He added, in a statement to reporters, that the role of the State of Qatar in this project also covers several axes, one of which is related to the issue of wet drying houses and how to develop them, and this axis has achieved great success.

For his part, the Director-General of Agricultural and Livestock Research in the Sultanate of Oman Dr. Hamdan Salim Al Wahaibi, noted this project and its importance to the GCC countries, especially since dates are considered a historical and economic heritage for the GCC countries.

He explained that the Sultanate of Oman has 9 million palm trees, and therefore its production of dates is large, most of which is consumed or manufactured locally, and some of it is exported abroad.

He indicated that the Nakheel Oman Development Company plays a major role in the marketing and processing of dates, and that the industrial complex for dates will be opened during the first quarter of this year, which constitutes a quantum leap for the dates sector in the Sultanate.

As for Dr. Abdullah bin Abdullah, the international expert at ICARDA for the date palm project in the GCC countries, he said that the project is being implemented with the GCC countries in order to develop sustainable systems for the production of palm trees and dates, by dealing with specialized research centers, with the aim of developing production of date palm varieties, and irrigation efficiency, which leads to saving water consumption.

He explained that in the context of the aforementioned project, work is also being done through research to develop a digital application that includes a comprehensive database of pests and numbers of date palms in these countries, allowing the concerned authorities to easily make decisions.

He explained that within the framework of this project, any farmer or investor in any of the GCC countries can enter data that allows him to identify the feasibility of palm cultivation.

It is noteworthy that among the agenda of the meetings is also a discussion and review of the research activities related to the project for the year 2023, and the exchange of experiences, information and ideas on future axes of cooperation between the GCC countries and ICARDA in the field of agricultural development.



General, Qatar
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