KKL-JNF Delegation Visited the Republic of Chad to Strengthen Agriculture and Water Management in the African Country

Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael - Jewish National Fund professional delegation returned to Israel from the Republic of Chad this week. The delegation was sent with the goal of studying the regional situation in Chad in order to collaborate in bolstering agriculture and land fertility, water and surface runoff management, and to continue combating desertification during a time of climate changes.

The delegation was headed by KKL-JNF’s Chief Forester, Gilad Ostrovsky, and included KKL-JNF experts in environmental fields, in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that was signed a few months ago between the relevant entities with the purpose of sharing relevant KKL-JNF expertise with the Republic of Chad. The professionals spent 10 days in the republic, some in Chad’s open fields while getting to know the region's physical characteristics, and others involved meeting senior politicians and local professionals. The delegation is an essential part of strengthening Israel’s relations with the Republic of Chad, which is a Muslim country that acts as a central player in the African Union.

The delegates met the Republic Secretary General and discussed the joint desire to cooperate and promote applicable projects. In addition, at a meeting with the President's Advisor on Agriculture and Water, KKL-JNF professionals were briefed on the many challenges being faced in the fields of regional agricultural development and the water economy. Later on, they joined the Minister of Communication who had previously visited Israel, and he as well, expressed his appreciation of the productive cooperation with Israel and KKL-JNF. The delegation was faithfully accompanied by Nassour Delio, who is leading the National Agency for Exports and Investments.

KKL-JNF is a non-governmental organization (NGO) that according to a special law of the Israeli Parliament (the Knesset), operates as the National Forest Service and the Land Development Authority in Israel. Established over 120 years ago, KKL-JNF is considered one of the world’s oldest organizations operating in the field of environmental solutions. KKL-JNF is active in more than 55 countries throughout the world and works in cooperation with various governmental and non-governmental bodies to further common environmental interests.  KKL-JNF uses its world–class expertise in combatting desertification, water resource management and conserving land through sustainable agriculture and research, to help countries in need and achieve its goals to combat climate change.

In the Turkana region of Kenya, an area in which previous attempts at farming had failed because of unsuitable water and soil, high temperatures, drought and pests, an innovative program by KKL-JNF was established: “Furrows in the Desert” - a training farm where local people work with Israeli experts and volunteers. Crops suitable for the local conditions were selected, fertilizers and pest control materials were brought in and water-conserving "limans" were dug, just as they are at sites in the Negev. Since the project was launched in 2012, more than 130 farms have been established in Turkana, and today local crops include chickpeas, beans and melons. KKL-JNF aims to launch a similar pilot project in the Republic of Chad, according to its individual needs, with the purpose of ensuring a better future for its citizens.

Upon the delegation's return to Israel, the delegates began to develop a practical work plan along with defining short-term and long-term goals for the cooperation with the Republic of Chad. The developing work plan will reflect a combination of the conclusions and findings identified by the delegates, the regional needs as expressed by senior politicians, and the voices that were heard in the field among the people of Chad. As previously stated, the delegation is a result of the Memorandum of Understanding that was recently signed between KKL-JNF and the Republic of Chad, and it aspires to lead to a significant, real change that will benefit the parties involved while dealing with the effects of climate changes.

Avraham Duvdevani, Chairman of KKL-JNF stated: "One of KKL-JNF's most important goals is to take part in the global effort to combat climate change, in order to ensure a better future. Therefore, we are happy to share our knowledge and technologies while cooperating with countries around the world in or fields of activity. I congratulate the delegation that visited the Republic of Chad and will be collaborating with Chad to find options for local solutions of water resources management and afforestation methods. It is important for us to contribute to the national effort of strengthening the relations between Israel and Chad, as well as the African Union’s countries."

Gilad Ostrovsky, KKL-JNF’s Chief Forester remarked: "Following the MOU that was signed by KKL-JNF and the Republic of Chad, a delegation that specializes in water resources management, agriculture and afforestation traveled to the republic. We visited the country and toured the field in order to learn about the country's reality closely, with the goal of consolidating a work plan in accordance with our findings.”