In 2017, we promoted new policies and strengthened sustainable value chains for small ruminant livestock and climate-smart crops. The result: higher and more diverse incomes for smallholder farmers.
ICARDA acts as a catalyst to strengthen entire value chains, working closely with key stakeholders and allowing agriculture to generate income for poor households and promote wider economic activities. This approach looks beyond subsistence to help farmers and rural communities invest in agriculture, education, health, and small enterprises.
We recognize that agriculture can be an incomegenerating business for many poor rural households, and we specifically target employment opportunities for women and youth who are particularly vulnerable. ICARDA activities last year included the production of high-value cash crops, the development of policies to facilitate climate-smart investments in agriculture, and the promotion of entrepreneurial activities and private enterprise.
SELECTED ACTIVITIES AND INITIATIVES
Enhancing seed systems
An initiative funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in Ethiopia enhanced farmer access to improved varieties of malt barley, faba bean, and chickpea, helping producers overcome challenges associated with major crop diseases, drought, and the effects of climate change. ICARDA worked with NARS to multiply over 1,000 tonnes of improved seed for further multiplication by seed companies and seed producer cooperatives. The initiative also strengthened farmer-based seed production. Working with 37 farmer seed producers, seven multipurpose cooperatives, and six unions, it produced some 1,157 tonnes of seed, which were then multiplied to produce a further 21,705 tonnes of quality seed, covering 8,682 hectares and benefiting over 33,000 farmers. In addition to seed multiplication, the initiative provided capacitystrengthening opportunities for farmers, researchers, and extension agents; new technologies, including water pumps and threshers; and strategies to manage the parasitic weed orobanche, and gall disease, both major threats to faba bean production.
Strengthening red meat value chains in Tunisia
Selling red meat is one of the main income-generating activities in rural Tunisia. ICARDA is supporting farmers to eliminate feed gaps and help them adapt to drought through the promotion of practical, cost-effective technologies and strategies that enhance the sustainable supply of nutritious feed and forage, including feed block manufacturing units, fast-track seed multiplication and dissemination, and improved quality forage through the production of silage. Impacts in 2017 included the multiplication of 200 tonnes of forage seed, the development of micro-enterprises to produce feed blocks, and a national strategy for forage and pasture seed production.
Cutting waste in wheat value chains
An assessment of pre- and post-harvest losses along the wheat value chain in Jordan helped identify several policies to address food waste. The study estimated that, excluding storage losses, a total of 0.31 million tonnes – approximately 34% of the total amount of wheat produced locally and imported – is being lost or wasted annually. This is equivalent to US$109 million, and represents a loss of 344 million m3 of water and 3.65 million gigajoules of energy.
The most significant losses occurred during household consumption, in particular from the widespread practice of feeding bread to animals, with additional losses during milling, pre-harvest, and transportation. Policy recommendations include reformulating the country's bread subsidy to target only those who need it the most; using barley instead of bread as an animal feed; and initiating public awareness campaigns to educate Jordanians on the problem of food loss and waste.