President Masa Iwanaga, together with five senior officials of JIRCAS, attended the ICAR-CSSRI Golden Jubilee International Salinity Conference, titled “Resilient Agriculture in Saline Environments under Changing Climate: Challenges & Opportunities”, in Karnal, Haryana, India, on February 7-9, 2019. The conference, organized by the Central Soil Salinity Research Institute (CSSRI) to commemorate its 50th anniversary, was attended by 275 participants from 17 countries.
Dr. Masa Iwanaga gave a congratulatory speech to celebrate the 50th anniversary of CSSRI at the opening session of the conference. Dr. Iwanaga and Dr. Suresh K. Chaudhari, assistant director general of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) also took the opportunity to present the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for research cooperation that was signed between JIRCAS and ICAR in February 2018 . Dr. Iwanaga was also conferred on the “Honorary Fellowship” of the Indian Society of Soil Salinity and Water Quality, a co-organizer of the conference.
He later chaired the panel discussion, themed “Salinity management under changing climate scenario” that followed the opening session. On the second day of the conference, Dr. Satoshi Tobita, program director of the Environment and Natural Resource Program at JIRCAS, served as co-chairperson of the technical session on the reclamation of salinized lands and presented research activities at JIRCAS that tackle problems caused by soil salinity. Dr. Keisuke Omori, Mr. Junya Onishi, and Dr. Donghe Xu presented the results of their studies under the JIRCAS research project titled “Development of sustainable resource management systems in the water-vulnerable areas in Asia and the Pacific Islands”.
Following his participation in the conference, Dr. Iwanaga held a meeting with Dr. Trilochan Mohapatra, Director General, ICAR on February 8 at the headquarters of ICAR in Delhi. They exchanged ideas on future research cooperation between ICAR and JIRCAS.
In closing, the delegation’s visit to India provided JIRCAS an opportunity to introduce ongoing salinization-related research activities by JIRCAS in India to relevant scientists in India and outside of India. CSSRI and ICAR expects that collaborative research between ICAR, India and JIRCAS, Japan can shortly culminate into promising solutions for managing the salt-induced land degradation. Promotion of research activities and maximization of the project outcomes are expected through strengthening of collaboration with CSSRI and other research institutes in India.