ICARDA Lebanon Country Office Established in 1977
ICARDA Temporary HQ Office (2012 - Present)
Country Manager - Hassan Machlab
ICARDA’s work in Lebanon is made possible through the support of LARI, AFESD, FAO, UNDP, GCDT, European Commission, OFID, CIMMYT, ESCWA, and in collaboration with the Lebanese University, and the American University of Beirut.
In 2012, ICARDA relocated its headquarters from Aleppo, Syria to Beirut in partnership with the Lebanese Ministry of Agriculture, the Lebanese Agricultural Research Institute and the American University of Beirut strengthening a solid research infrastructure.
ICARDA’s main activities in the country surround the testing and screening of important regional crops for tolerance to mild cold, droughts, and heat stresses, as well as their resistance to key diseases and insect pests. ICARDA established four main research stations in the Central Bekaa Valley: Tel Amara, Haush-Sneid, Kfardan and Terbol, offering researchers three different agro-climatic zones – Mediterranean, coastal and semi-arid. ICARDA scientists there run trials of winter crops, spring chickpea, and summer crops.
Terbol, the biggest of the four research stations, is an excellent site for disease screening mainly for durum wheat, bread wheat, and food legumes. Tests contributing to the development of improved production systems for barley, lentil, grasspea and faba bean – ICARDA’s mandate crops – take place at Terbol and Kfardan. Outputs are evaluated in local and regional field trials before dissemination.
New technologies for the conservation of genetic resources, early warning systems, capacity building, and sustainable use and production are introduced in the four main stations, and Lebanon’s climate is suitable for trials of cold nurseries and off-season summer nurseries of cereals and legumes, complementing the work of ICARDA’s other research stations in the region. Breeding research in cereals and legumes is also carried out in Lebanon as part of lCARDA’s global breeding programs.
ICARDA Lebanon Activities
Plant breeding and Crossings varieties in open fields and greenhouses, off-season plant breeding, doubled haploid breeding, screening for resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses, and evaluation for yield potential under favorable conditions.
Seed health testing, seed multiplication, and preparation of international nurseries.
Genetic resources evaluation and ex-situ conservation.
Capacity building and training of Lebanese scientists, researchers, technicians, students, and farmers.
Over 32 new high-yielding varieties have been released over the past four decades including bread wheat, durum wheat, barley, chickpea, lentil, faba bean and forage legumes.
Between 1978 and 2017, ICARDA provided individual degree, non-degree, and internship programs to around 750 students and scientists in Lebanon.
In 2018, ICARDA’s gene banks in Lebanon regenerated around 24,000 accessions.
With the support of Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development (AFESD), Terbol station has become a regional hub for conducting high-quality research and building the capacity of young agricultural professionals in the region. In addition, seeds from more than 200 genotypes of selected forage crops have been multiplied.
Wheat seed stocks at LARI grew from 1,000 to 8,000 tons in 2014 making Lebanon self-sufficient in wheat seed production.
In 2020, a total of 1221 sets of 28 International Nursey trials covering 1479 genotypes were timely distributed to 108 cooperators in 40 countries