Press Release

FAO training on Conservation Agriculture and Land Management Practices

01 February 2023

Basra, Iraq, 01 February 2023 – The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), in coordination with the Ministry of Environment (MoE), Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) and Ministry of Water Resources (MoWR), launched on 30 January 2023 the training on Conservation Agriculture and Land Management Practices through Farmer Field Schools approach, a milestone of the “Sustainable Land Management for Improved Livelihoods in Degraded areas of Iraq” project funded by Global Environment Facility (GEF).

Thirty-one government extensions officers from Thi Qar Governorate attended the training and will cascade the gained knowledge to Lead Farmers who will spearhead a farmer-to-farmer extension service delivery on Conservation Agriculture for Sustainable Land Management across the project locations.

The training sessions include but not limited the following thematic subjects: roles and responsibilities of farmers field school trainers, criteria for selection and management of farming demonstration sites, principles of conservation agriculture, diagnosis and combating land degradation, climate smart agriculture, design and implementation of an action plan on rural participatory farmer- to-farmer extension service delivery.

During the workshop, Dr Salah ElHajjHassan, FAO Representative underlined the importance of the FFS model developed by FAO in building extension officers and farmers skills to improve sustainable production while adapting to climate change impacts. He said, “the project will build upon and expand this model for the purposes of building local community capacity to engage in and support agro-ecological and conservation practices at the landscape level”.

FAO Technical team composed of national and international experts will continue delivering during the next 7 days theoretical and field sessions for capacity building of the extension officers on conservation agriculture pillars, mechanisms, techniques, as well as planning and management skills.

Salah Elhajjhassan

Salah Elhajjhassan

Mr Hajj Hassan, a national of Lebanon, holds a Ph.D. in Plant Production from the University of Agriculture, Damascus, Syria; a Master of Science degree in Plant Production and a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Engineering, both from the American University of Beirut, Lebanon.
He started his career in 1984, as Senior Research Assistant in the Agricultural Research and Education Centre (AREC), American University of Beirut. From 1987 to 1991, he was Coordinator of the Student Training Programme, and also Agriculture and Horticultural Teacher for the Faculty of Agriculture, at the Lebanese University.
From 1991 to 1995, he worked as Agricultural Engineer at the Ministry of Agriculture, Bekaa Regional Office, Zahlah and was then assigned to the Agricultural Research Institute in the Tal Amara station, first as Head of the Crop Production Department and subsequently in charge of the Plant Protection Laboratory. From 2002 to 2006, he was Director of the Kfardane Research Station (Agricultural Research Institute). In 2008, he became Visiting Scientist at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT) and Coordinator of a project with the International Centre for Atomic Energy Agency, Vienna.
In 2010, he served as Advisor to the Minister for Agriculture of Lebanon. In 2011, he became President of the Pesticide Scientific Committee, Head of the Phytoplasma Committee and Director of the Agriculture and Rural Development Programme (ARDP) (EU-funded project). From 2010 to 2013, he represented Lebanon in negotiations with EU, Egypt, Jordan and Iraq. During his career, Mr Hajj Hassan also carried out a number of other functions. He represented the Lebanese Agricultural Research Institute (LARI) in several research programmes with the International Centre for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) and the American University of Beirut. He was Coordinator of the Mashreq/Maghreb project with ICARDA, representing Lebanon in the Steering Committee, as well as being the Head of the Sugar-beet Delivery and of the Wheat Delivery Committees. For a number of years, Mr Hajj Hassan worked for the preparation of FAO TCP projects and served as the National Director of a TCP project. He joined FAO in January 2014 as FAO Representative in Yemen. Mr Hajj Hassan succeeds Mr El Zubi as FAO Representative in Iraq.

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