Our climate-resilient approach to rainfed, irrigated, and agro-pastoral farming enhances the sustainable use of water and land resources – helping to reverse environmental degradation, improve water productivity, and support sustainable intensification.
Against a backdrop of increasing land degradation, scarce water resources, and the impacts of climate variability and change, ICARDA's research targets agricultural production systems that deliver 'more with less' – in greenhouses, on fields, and across rangelands. We also offer advice and help national systems plan for the future and adjust to new climate scenarios.
Last year, we harnessed cutting-edge science to develop 'best-bet' technologies and practices that were optimized, validated, and disseminated to farmers and rural communities. These included an adapted machine that supports the application of raised-bed planting, helping to enhance productivity and yields; indigenous forage species that are adapted to local conditions and use limited amounts of water; and practical and costeffective technologies like supplemental irrigation that improve water productivity and help farmers to plant and manage crops at the optimal time.
SELECTED ACTIVITIES AND INITIATIVES
Collaborative watershed restoration efforts improve barley production
In Jordan's Badia an ICARDA research team improved watershed restoration efforts launched in 2016, working with communities to place over 50 gull plugs in major erosion channels and redesigning 'marab' water harvesting areas to improve barley production. In addition, a unique soil water monitoring campaign substantially enhanced soil moisture in water harvesting micro-catchments, indicating its potential for supporting the deep percolation of stored water and eventually helping to recharge Jordan's depleted groundwater.
Harnessing traditional knowledge to preserve soil moisture
ICARDA worked with rangeland communities in Jordan to develop wadi bed water harvesting structures. Based on indigenous knowledge, and locally known as 'marab,' the structures reduce slopes (through the construction of stone walls that cross wadis) and slow runoff, allowing water to spread over larger areas and infiltrate soils to support plant growth. They also help to collect sediment, which enriches soils. In 2017, despite late sowing and low levels of rainfall, farmers achieved barley yields that were up to 6 tonnes per hectare, providing a muchneeded source of fodder.
Vallerani plows help to 'green' rangelands
Vallerani plows efficiently build micro-catchments to harvest rainwater and address water scarcity in dry environments. In collaboration with the University of Jordan, ICARDA improved the technique to more effectively identify contours for the plow to follow. Auto-guiding systems also reduced construction costs substantially, resulting in the large-scale application of the plows by the government of Jordan. Results included improved vegetation cover, more animal feed, and reduced soil erosion.