IOFS Director General's Working Visit to Almaty

Country: Kazakhstan
IOFS Director General's Working Visit to Almaty
01 July 2024

Almaty, Kazakhstan - On 1 July 2024, the Director-General of the Islamic Organization for Food Security (IOFS), His Excellency Ambassador Berik Aryn, paid a working visit to meet with Almaty-based agricultural research institutions and academic leaders. These meetings aimed to foster collaboration between the IOFS and science entities of the hosting country, and to discuss their involvement in upcoming IOFS projects and activities.

Ambassador Berik Aryn commenced his meetings with a courtesy visit to Al-Farabi Kazakh National University (KazNU), where he had a productive meeting with Dr. Zhanseit Tuimebayev, Chairman of the Board - Rector of KazNU and extensive delegation of the university. During the meeting, Ambassador Berik Aryn donated special books on Egyptian Mosques to the university library. The discussion covered potential cooperation areas, including KazNU experts' involvement in IOFS projects, as well as possible engagement of university specialists in capacity building activities across various IOFS programs for Central Asia.

In addition, the IOFS Director General was familiarized with the university faculties of biology and geography, and biology and biotechnology center and current projects under implementation. Rector Dr. Zhanseit Tuimebayev emphasized the academic excellence of the specialized faculties of biology, geography in developing climate-resilient wheat varieties, use of drone for soil and land analysis, and ensured the KazNU readiness to provide university premises and laboratories, and experts’ potential for further IOFS projects and joint capacity building activities.

Following the day program, the Director General held a meeting with Dr. Aibyn Torekhanov, the Chairman of the Board – Director of the Kazakh Scientific Research Institute of Animal Husbandry and Forage Production and Institute representatives, who introduced institute’s gene pool of more than 5,000 fodder crops and mentioned the institute’s role as a leading research, methodological, and coordination center in Kazakhstan for livestock, poultry, and feed production. The IOFS Director General mentioned about the project proposal on establishment of International Center for Plant and Animal Genetic Resources for IOFS Member States, and welcomed the Institute’s expert involvement in this initiative. The Institute will provide the information on gene pool of fodder production, as well as on DNA of animal genetic resources. Also, sides agreed for cooperation within the IOFS Program on Livestock Development, focusing on innovative solutions for sustainable livestock and feed production.

Subsequently, Ambassador Berik Aryn met with Dr. Raushan Ramazanova, Chairman of the Board - Director of the Kazakh Research Institute of Soil Science and Agrochemistry named after Uspanov. The institute's mission is to support food security through soil fertility reproduction, rational use of soil resources, and agricultural land management in Kazakhstan. The Director General expressed appreciation for the institute's collaboration on the project with ICESCO and KazNARU on utilizing biochar for soil improvement and agricultural development. Dr. Ramazanova noted that biochar use is not yet widespread among researchers and farmers in the country and welcomed the IOFS initiative, expressing readiness for further collaboration to promote biochar adoption in Kazakhstan.

The final meeting of the day was with Dr. Sholpan Bastaubayeva, Chairman of the Board of the Kazakh Research Institute of Agriculture and Plant Growing. Established in 1934, the institute is a premier research center in Kazakhstan, dedicated to developing new, competitive varieties and hybrids of agricultural crops and their cultivation techniques to support the sustainable development of the agricultural sector. The institute's gene bank, which conserves the genetic pool for 29 agricultural crops, maintains a national database with passport information for over 56,000 samples of 223 crop types. To date, the institute has developed more than 600 varieties and hybrids, with 183 approved for use in Kazakhstan and abroad.

Ambassador Berik Aryn emphasized the critical role of national gene banks in achieving agricultural sustainability and the development of local crop varieties. He also announced that the IOFS Project Office is actively working on a proposal to establish an International Center for Plant and Animal Genetic Resources for IOFS Member States. He encouraged the involvement of institute experts in this initiative and highlighted the importance of knowledge and experience exchange among Member States' research organizations. On its side, Dr. Sholpan Bastaubayeva and experts assured their readiness for close involvement to the said IOFS initiative and informed that the institution has the good premises to host the mentioned International Center given the science potential, already having necessary conditions, equipment and experience for conservation, collection, documentation, selection and extension services.

It is to note that the IOFS Director General within these working meetings was accompanied by the program manager of the Programs and Projects Department, Mr. Bakytzhan Arystanbek.