The International Center of Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA) has been presented with the Khalifa International Award for Date Palm and Agricultural Innovation in recognition of the center’s continued efforts on agricultural research and innovation.
Dr. Ismahane Elouafi, ICBA Director General, received the award at a ceremony on March 15, 2016 in Abu Dhabi, the UAE, from H.H. Sheikh Nahayan Mubarak Al Nahayan, Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development of the UAE.
Speaking of the award, Dr. Elouafi said: “We are honored to have received this special award and are deeply thankful for continued support and recognition of our work by the Government of the UAE. We greatly appreciate the Khalifa Award and view it as additional encouragement to step up our research and innovation efforts in the UAE and other countries where we work.”
Focused on delivering innovative agricultural solutions in saline and marginal environments, ICBA works to adapt, transfer and promote salt-tolerant crops, forages, trees, shrubs and grasses and technologies to increase food, nutrition, and income security of some of the most vulnerable populations around the world.
“Our center aims to enhance agricultural productivity and resilience in marginal environments through improved technologies and the appropriate genetic material. In particular our scientists carry out extensive research to improve productivity and resilience of date palms. As this holy tree plays an important role in the livelihoods of farmers in the Gulf region, we look for ways to improve its productivity under the changing environment, including salinity and water shortage,” Dr. Elouafi added.
Over the past years, ICBA has also worked extensively with its national partners to study the impact of salinity on date palm varieties from the Arabian Peninsula. The study evaluates the impact of salinity and irrigation management on water use and date palm production across different varieties. It is aimed at mapping the effect of salinity on the growth and production of date palms.