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CTA. 1997. IPALAC. Spore 71. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/48901
The International Program for Arid Land Crops (IPALAC) was launched in Israel in 1994 with the aim of promoting the use of plant species which are adapted to semi-arid lands for combating desertification. IPALAC acts as a catalyst For maximizing the...
The International Program for Arid Land Crops (IPALAC) was launched in Israel in 1994 with the aim of promoting the use of plant species which are adapted to semi-arid lands for combating desertification. IPALAC acts as a catalyst For maximizing the potential of plant biodiversity for rural development in the world's drylands. This is achieved mainly by the transfer or domestication of plant species which include multi-purpose trees or shrubs, legumes, fruits and nuts, plants with industrial and medicinal uses and species which are adapted to salt and drought tolerance. Although the IPALAC concept is applicable to any country interested in developing its arid lands, its main focus is in trying to help resource-poor countries, particularly in Africa. IPALAC consists of a few scientists and an administrator, most of its work is conducted in collaboration with scientists from organizations who are also interested in the domestication and transfer of arid land crops. Although IPALAC is based in Israel, much of its work is conducted in-country, for instance in Mali, Burkina Faso and Senegal in West Africa, where research is currently being undertaken to improve agricultural productivity in the arid and semi-arid regions. An IPALAC centre has also been established at the Central Arid Zone Research Institute (CAZRI) in Rajasthan, India. The climatic conditions of long dry seasons and monsoon rains which exist at CAZRI are very similar to those of the Sahel. Crops and farming systems, which have been developed in this region of India, show high potential for adoption in West Africa. As a result, a training course for African agronomists and extension workers will be held at CAZRI in September of this year. For some years Ziziphus mauritiana, a tree suitable for hedging which also provides a nutritious fruit, has been selected and improved at the IPALAC Centre at CAZRI; it is now being introduced into West Africa for use in hedging to keep out livestock from water catchment areas known as diguettes. The traditional diguette consists of a ridge about 30 cm high which is built around a farmers' field in order to prevent water and soil run-off during the intense rains during the monsoon period in the Sahel. IPALAC has improved this concept by the addition of a hedge, or living fence, of trees which preserves the ridges and fields from roaming livestock. This IPALAC approach, which has been established by identifying arid land problems and improving them through the use of plants, has also been applied in determining the potential role of the date palm (Phoenix dactylifera) in the Sahel. The tree is an important source of food and a basis of the economy in countries north of the Sahara but it is virtually unknown further south. A workshop on Date Palms for the Sahel was held in Niamey, Niger recently where a comprehensive, seven-nation programme on date production was drafted and will be implemented in the coming months. IPALAC produces a periodic newsletter and has produced a Technical Paper on Zizyphus mauritiana. [caption to illustration] Learning how to determine contour lines at an IPALAC training workshop International Program for Arid Land Crops Institute for Agriculture & Applied Biology, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev PO Box 653, Beer Sheva, ISRAEL 84105 Tel: + 972 7 46197112 Fax: + 972 7 472969/984 Email: IPALAC@bgumail.bgu.ac.il