Students enrolled in the food security core course FSEC 300 - Food Security: Challenges and Contemporary Debate conducted a one day field visit to the Bek'aa Valley, where they visited the Advancing Research Enabling Communities Center (AREC) at AUB and the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA).
Dr. Mustapha Haidar, Director of AREC, gave a talk to students summarizing the food security situation of the Bek'aa Valley and the challenges the local community is currently facing. Dr. Haidar and Mr. Nicolas Haddad, Manager of AREC, showed the students the agricultural techniques, innovative approaches, and best practices the center is using in the field to address the current food security challenges.
Dr. Hasan Machlab, Lebanon Manager of ICARDA, introduced students to ICARDA and its mission in Lebanon and the region. Also at ICARDA, Dr. Ali Chehade, Gene Bank Manager & Rangeland and Pasture Germplasm Curator, explained to students the importance of the gene bank and the role of ICARDA in conserving agrobiodiversity. Students had the opportunity to see inside and tour the gene bank at the Terbol station.
More information about ICARDA: ICARDA is a global research-for-development organization that envisions resilient livelihoods in dryland communities of the developing world with secure access to food, markets, nutrition and health, and the capacity to manage natural resources sustainably. Since its establishment in 1977 as a not-for-profit organization, the center has implemented research-for-development programs in 50 countries in the world’s dry areas, spanning from Morocco in North Africa to Bangladesh in South Asia. ICARDA has a global mandate for the crop development of barley, lentil and faba bean and serves the non-tropical dry areas for the improvement of water-use efficiency in agriculture, rangeland issues and small-ruminant production. In the Middle East and North Africa region and in Central Asia, ICARDA contributes to the improvement of bread and durum wheat, kabuli chickpea, pasture and forage legumes, and associated farming systems.
FSP students visited and saw inside the gene bank at the ICARDA Terbol station.