UAE funding global research

ABU DHABI — The UAE has been providing significant funds to help conduct research aimed at using saline water resources for irrigation purposes in many countries, a top agricultural expert has said.

By Wael Yousef

Published: Sat 20 Aug 2005, 10:18 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 7:14 PM

"The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and the UAE University in Al Ain are key players in the efforts to overcome shortage in water resources needed for irrigation," said Dr Mohammed Hassen Al Attar, Chairman of the Board of Directors and Director-General of the International Saline Agriculture Centre.

The ministry and the UAE University, with the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), are sponsoring the International Saline Agriculture Centre, which was set up in 1996 as an establishment for specialised applications in the use of saline water for agricultural products and green plants. The centre is based in Dubai and coordinates the activities of the Islamic Network for Saline Agriculture and the International Network for Saline Agriculture.

Dr Al Attar said he works towards the success of INSA, which he described as “an independent non-profit network without political affiliations”, and that it supports saline agricultural activities under the auspices of the Ministerial Committee for Scientific and Technological Co-operation, which belongs to the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC). The centre was established in 2002.

He said: "The International Centre for Saline Agriculture is organising the activities for the Islamic Network for Saline Agriculture."

Dr Shuaib Ismael, an expert on saline plants, will coordinate the activities of the network, besides executing it's annual programme."

On the need to have a saline agricultural network, Dr Ismael said: "Organisations around the world are conducting research through independent efforts. Hence, it was imperative to create a network to concentrate on those efforts. The network will organise meetings and workshops, in addition to distributing pamphlets and executing joint research programmes, exchanging information and coordinating training and learning operations in order to prevent duplication of work."

He said the network had developed a database on scientists and non-governmental organisations concerned with saline agriculture and that a guidebook on scientists in Islamic countries was on the anvil. It will also provide and recruit experts in all aspects of saline agriculture to benefit institutions in need of specialised skills.

Dr Al Attar said the Network targeted national, regional and global institutions in both the advanced and developing countries, besides financial centres of member states in the Organisation of the Islamic Conference.

"Ministries of Agriculture, universities, national, regional and international research and development institutions, guidance centres and agricultural societies and non-governmental institutions, are members of the Network," he said.

"The membership fee for the Network is $3,000 annually for advanced countries and $1,000 per year for less developed countries," he said.

He said such fees would not cause any financial burden on the Network's members and that among the various benefits they would enjoy were opportunities to participate in joint cooperative projects in saline agriculture, partake via the Internet through bulletins published every three years to explore and exchange information on saline agricultural topics and to update the latest developments in saline agriculture.

"Data belonging to the networks' members will be protected. They will also have the opportunity to participate in fora, workshops and training programmes," he added.

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