A high-level delegation from India visited AREC (May 18) where they toured the facilities following a brief presentation by Dr. Abdel Azizi Niane, ICARDA’s representative at AREC. The international experts also visited the FAFS management. Dr. Ashutosh Sarker, Regional Coordinator for South Asia & China Regional Program in Biodiversity and Integrated Gene Management at ICARDA, delivered a presentation to FAFS community on Strategic partnership in enhancing food and nutritional security in South Asia & China.
Under the guidance of ICARDA’s Lebanon Country Manager, Dr. Hassan Machlab, the delegation included:
- Dr. N. P. Singh, Director, ICAR-Indian Institute of Pulses Research, Kanpur
- Dr. G. P. Singh, Director, ICAR- Indian Institute of Wheat & Barley Research, Karnal
- Dr. O. P. Yadav, Director, ICAR-Central Arid Zone Research Institute, Jodhpur
- Dr. A. K. Singh, Director, Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi
- Dr. M. Pandit, Senior Faba Bean Breeder, Bidhan Chandra Ag. University, Mohanpur
Attendees then discussed the potential of growing pulses such as chickpeas, lentils, and faba beans in Lebanon. ICARDA is developing drought resistant varieties that could be suitable for planting in the Beqaa valley. Low water requirements and high protein content make these crops good alternatives to meat in plant-based diets. Some of the challenges facing broad production in Lebanon were discussed and included: the availability of the drought resistant seeds, the need for seeds propagation by farmers, the development of varieties that are suitable for mechanical harvesting, and the profitability of production for the farmers. Chickpeas were of specific interest because of their use in Hummus and other traditional dishes. Most chickpeas found in the Lebanese market are imported, hence making it beneficial to look into chickpea local production.