North of Baghdad, a Clemson University researcher was on a mission. Plant propagation expert Richard Hassell recently instructed students and government officials in Erbil, Iraq, on how to grow more vegetables by grafting, the practice of attaching a piece of one plant to grow on to the rootstock of another.
Hassell specializes in vegetable physiology and growing methods. A faculty member in the School of Agricultural, Forest and Environmental Sciences and Extension Service specialist, Hassell works at Clemson’s Coastal Research and Education Center in Charleston, SC.
Part of a part of a USAID-Inma project (Inma means “growth” in Arabic), Hassell conducted two days of training sessions on grafting methods for students from Salah ad Din University’s College of Agriculture and officials from the Kurdistan Ministry of Agriculture.
Thirty-six ministry staff members, including eight women, participated in a training session at the ministry’s Agricultural Training Center to learn about grafting methods for melons and tomatoes. The following day, Hassell trained 30 students from the College of Agriculture, including 16 women, on rootstock germination, preparation of scion seedlings and other grafting material. In both lectures, Hassell gave an explanation on why grafting is important and discussed the main application for rootstock application.
Since the late 20th century, grafting has become the preferred method used by greenhouse growers and open field producers to overcome soil borne disease and to increase yields. During the next few weeks, participants will have the opportunity for hands-on training to practice these grafting methods.
For information contact: Richard Hassell, firstname.lastname@example.org