On June 17th, 2023, the Water Research Centre (WRC) of the University of Khartoum organized the Awareness Session for Farmers and Local Actors in Sudan on the best management practices (BMPs) selection and evaluation. The Hydraulics Research Center (HRC) hosted the event in close collaboration with local partners such as the Gezira Board, the Agricultural Research Corporation, the Ministry of Irrigation and Water Resources, and local farmers' organizations.
Despite the civil war in progress, nearly fifty participants attended the meeting, representing all the actors involved in the process of building sustainable agriculture models. Attendees consisted of public authorities, associations, and members from the private sector involved in water management and agriculture in the Gezira Irrigation Scheme – a study area for Sudan in the framework of the WATDEV project. Representatives from the Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA) and the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Bari (CIHEAM Bari), the international partners of the project, also attended the meeting and connected remotely.
The main goal of this meeting was to enhance the implementation of selected BMPs and Innovations towards the local communities of the study areas where BMPs and Innovations will be studied and analyzed with models for their possible implementation and upscaling. The awareness session elaborated on the selected best management practices and innovations, outlining goals, means, and possible impacts in order to adapt to the BMPs specific to the area: notably they spoke about the Water Users’ Association and Improved Seeds.
The opening session was led by Dr. Omar Muhammad Marzouq, Governor of the Gezira Project. Dr. Marzouq announced the readiness of the Gezira scheme management to embrace the outputs and recommendations of the meeting and to collaborate for its implementation in the field.
CIHEAM Bari representatives (Mr. Claudio Bogliotti and Dr. Gaetano Ladisa) provided a brief overview of the project's activities considering the current situation in Sudan. They discussed the significance of the WATDEV project at both the national and regional levels.
Dr. Ahmed Hayaty Elshaikh (WRC) introduced the local stakeholders of the Gezira scheme and explained the WATDEV project’s activities, objectives, methodology, research phases, main goals, and expected outcomes. He also highlighted the connections between farmers, researchers, and policymakers regarding the collection and implementation of BMPs.
All the participants actively participated with valuable contributions to the discussion. In particular, farmers shared engaging insights into their daily challenges and routines.
The BMPs will be implemented on the ground by a committee consisting of stakeholders from various backgrounds. This implementation aims to achieve the desired productive goals of sustainable development such as improved productivity, reduced water waste, and the mitigation of climate change.