ICARDA Board of Trustees
Cairo - November 18-20. The Program Committee of the first day was open to all staff. It included:
- Highlights of recent research breakthroughs and strategic questions presented by Strategic Research Priorities (CRPs) and Cross Cutting Themes (CCTs).
- Implementation of the Strategic Plan:
a. DryArc Initiative
b. CGIAR Initiatives: Two-Degree Initiative, Collaborative Platform for Gender Research, Excellence in Breeding Platform, Excellence in Agronomy
c. Draft Program of Work 2020-2021
- ICARDA Results Framework and its implementation
- 2019 PC self-assessment results
The ICARDA Board meeting was the final Board meeting for the current Board Chair, Margret Thalwitz. Margret Thalwitz is a senior expert fellow with the Center for Global Cooperation Research at the University of Essen-Duisburg. She was also a consultant to the World Bank, UNICEF, and the German government. She joined ICARDA’s Board in October 2012. The new Board Chair is Michel Afram who is a specialist in agricultural education and policy, Michel Afram is president of the Board of Directors and director general of the Lebanese Agricultural Research Institute.
The Board of Trustees members had an opportunity to taste "fusilli" barley pasta.
Trade benefits: The current levels of wheat imports and related subsidies are placing a heavy toll on the Egyptian economy (USD 4.8 billion for the fiscal year 2018/19) and the demand for wheat is rising with population growth.
Environmental benefits: The option of introducing barley into the flour mix for baladi bread may be a promising alternative due to the crop’s suitability for production in marginal lands under water deficit and saline water as barley is more resilient than wheat to drought, salinity and heat.
Economic benefits: If gradually introduced to reach scale, the inclusion of barley in the baladi bread flour mix could potentially provide a significant reduction of the import bill, estimated at 20%.
Nutritional benefits: The Egyptian population suffers from excess caloric intake generating negative health-related impacts, including obesity (around 30% of adult Egyptians). Barley has higher soluble fibers, higher protein and vitamin content, cancer preventive compounds and presence of beta-glucans that reduces cholesterol.
Opportunities of the DryArc Initiative
Interview with Dr. Michel Afram - Director General Lebanese Agricultural Research Institute (LARI) and chair of the ICARDA Board of Trustees. He answers following questions:
- How can the DryArc Initiative benefit from the rich Lebanese culinary tradition?
- Does the processing of traditional food require new technologies and skills?
- Can the DryArc Initiative promote specific food niches?
- Can those niches be made more attractive for export to the European Union?
- What is the most urgent research priority for the DryArc Initiative?
- Which international expertise would be needed for this?
- Can a consortium of international agricultural research centers influence national policy makers?
- Can LARI play a role in the food safety problems of countries in the South?
- Can South-South collaboration be fruitful under the DryArc initiative?
- Is triangular cooperation the future?