Getting agricultural research innovations into use in the dry areas is critically important, especially since these regions cover 40% of the earth’s surface and are home to 2.5 billion people – a significant percentage of the world’s population.
This is the core work of the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Area (ICARDA), which works with partners worldwide, developing innovations to improve food security and the livelihoods of the rural poor. ICARDA’s work targets non-tropical dry areas in developing countries, and also produces international public goods with potential for global application.
Research covers crops (wheat, barley, faba bean, lentil, chickpea and forage legumes), the management of natural resources (water, land, biodiversity), small ruminant production (sheep and goats), farming systems (intensification, diversification, integration between farming system components), and socio-economics and policy research – on how policies can be more relevant to the situation of low income countries.
The estimated benefits of ICARDA’s crop improvement research and production of new varieties over the past 3 decades has been estimated at US$850 million per year. Over 900 improved varieties of wheat, developed from ICARDA material, have been released for cultivation worldwide. The new varieties offer higher yields; better tolerance to drought, heat, cold and salinity; and improved resistance to diseases, weeds and insect pests.
ICARDA’s genebank holds over 135,000 accessions from over 110 countries: traditional landraces, improved germplasm, and a unique set of wild crop relatives. These include wheat, barley, oats and other cereals; food legumes such as faba bean, chickpea, lentil and field pea; forage crops, rangeland plants, and wild relatives of each of these species.
Crop Trust Support
The Crop Trust provides a long-term grant for the conservation of the international collection of Barley, Faba Bean, Grass Pea and Forages at ICARDA.
Information from the CGIAR