This tailor-made training, funded by Nuffic and requested by the staff of the college of Agriculture of Basra University, aims to help mitigate soil and water salinization problems hampering agricultural production in Iraq. The training focuses on accessing and using innovative data and tools in the public domain, to gain insight into salinity issues, improve salinity control and enhancing agricultural production in Iraq by analyzing crop performance and assessing irrigation management. Next to building capacity of participants in accessing and using innovative public-domain data, tools and models to analyze water resources and support climate-smart irrigation strategies, a key objective is to strengthen collaboration and partnerships between Dutch and Iraqi institutions in the fields of water management, agriculture, and education.

This tailor-made training aims to build capacity in using tools to support climate-smart irrigation strategies to improve salinity control and enhance agricultural production. The training provides participants with relevant hands-on experience and cutting-edge knowledge on innovative solutions in earth observation technologies and apply this to assess measures for increasing water efficiency in agriculture, increase production and achieve water and climate-smart agriculture.

The training programme will consist of two e-learning training periods, that are separated by a 3-week period of regular on-distance support. The main e-learning training will take place over a 6-week period and is structured around 3 training modules that are divided into several training sessions. These training sessions are comprised of plenary video conferences and include assignments that can be worked on pairwise of individually. Attendance and progress are monitored through the FutureWater Moodle School. Each training module is tailored around different tools for gaining insight into salinity issues, improving salinity control, and enhancing agricultural production in Iraq:

  1. Geospatial mapping of climatic variables, soil salinity and irrigated areas using remote sensing and cloud computing.
  2. Soil-water-plant modeling to determine optimal irrigation water allocations to control water tables and soil salinity.
  3. Crop water productivity options to achieve real water savings in irrigated agriculture.

It is expected that the obtained knowledge and capacity in better mitigating soil and water salinization problems will be embedded into the organization(s) of the participants. This will contribute to a further increase in the agricultural productivity and food security in Iraq.