From the 11th to the 16th of December 2023, the International Centre for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies (CIHEAM) Bari, the technical and scientific lead partner in the WATDEV project, organized and conducted the 1st Module of a significant Training of Trainers on "Water, Soil, and Crop Management in Climate-Smart Agriculture" on its Campus in Bari, Italy.
The entire course was underpinned by the WATDEV project, funded by the DeSIRA initiative of the European Union. This initiative aims to develop a profound understanding of water and agricultural dynamics and management, fostering resilience to climate change through innovative research, modeling, and capacity-building approaches.
The Course Programme is the result of the collaborative efforts among all project partners of the consortium who conceived and planned its structure, namely CIHEAM Bari, the Italian National Research Council (CNR), The Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA), Heliopolis University (HU), Water and Land Resource Centre, Addis Ababa University (WLRC), WRC Water Resource Centre University of Khartoum, and Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO).
Fifteen representatives from universities and local authorities from Kenya, Ethiopia and Egypt together with further five participants (on-line) from Sudan attended the 1st Module, after being selected by project partners. The objective of this 1st Module was to empower local actors based in the study areas in the effective implementation of the best management practices (BMPs) and Innovations within their communities.
Biagio Di Terlizzi, CIHEAM Bari Deputy Director, and Claudio Bogliotti, DeSIRA Programme Coordinator at CIHEAM Bari, welcomed participants, followed by a presentation of the week’s training programme by Gaetano Ladisa, CIHEAM Bari Scientific Administrator and WATDEV scientific team leader joined by Silvia Lecci, CIHEAM Bari coordination team member of WATDEV.
The Course's lecturers were experienced soil scientists, geneticists, agronomists, engineers, and officials of organizations such as FAO. The beneficiaries of the Course were junior researchers, public officers, extensionists actively engaged in BMPs implementation and innovation projects in the study areas. The involvement of such a varied group underscored the Course's mission to establish a robust network of expertise capable of fostering sustainable development among local communities.
The Course's programme is available here.
On the 15th of December, participants embarked on a field visit to the Irrigation Scheme District 10 (San Ferdinando di Puglia, Foggia) managed by the Consorzio di Bonifica di Capitanata. This allowed for a firsthand understanding of the technical and institutional aspects related to the consortium, including presentations on new technologies and automations. The visit extended to Consorzio di Bonifica Montana del Gargano, where participants witnessed bio-engineering interventions in Rignano Garganico.
In the next few months, the trainers will organize the transfer of the newly acquired knowledge to local farming community. The 2nd Module of the Course is due in late Spring 2024.