We helped to improve technology adoption strategies last year – getting innovations and technologies into the hands of farmers to strengthen resilience and enhance climate change adaptation.
To ensure that our research improves livelihoods, ICARDA scales up proven technologies and invests in partnerships to generate impact. Our experience suggests smallholder farmers are unlikely to adopt new innovations without improved models of technology transfer.
Last year, ICARDA collaborated with a wide range of partners and change agents to improve the extension of new technologies and put knowledge into action, including agricultural research institutes, the private sector, NGOs, development agencies, and financial institutions.
We also sharpened our focus on South–South cooperation to ensure that the knowledge we generate is demand driven and addresses the challenges of smallholder farmers across the dry areas of the developing world.
SELECTED ACTIVITIES AND INITIATIVES
Promoting proven wheat technologies
The ICARDA-managed initiative "Enhancing Food Security in Arab Countries" uses three innovative and participatory dissemination strategies to enhance the adoption of new wheat production innovations and technologies: a 'mass dissemination' approach implemented within a given site and involving the highest number of demonstration plots across a range of soil types and management systems; a 'satellite' approach, which selects progressive farmers to demonstrate technologies to neighboring farmers; and a 'multi-tool' dissemination approach using a limited number of randomly distributed demonstration plots to popularize advanced practices and technologies.
During the 2016/17 cropping season more than 17,500 people benefited from over 500 demonstrations and capacity-strengthening events. These included over 11,900 farmers, 3,500 technicians or extension agents, and 1,300 researchers. Representing an investment in future research capacity, the initiative's Young Agricultural Scientist Program offered in-depth mentoring and training opportunities for an additional six young researchers.
Strengthening wheat value chains in sub-Saharan Africa
The ICARDA-managed wheat component of the African Development Bank-funded project "Support to Agricultural Research for Development of Strategic Crops in Africa" validated and promoted new innovations and technologies at six innovation platforms in the initiative's three 'hub' countries of Ethiopia, Nigeria, and Sudan. These efforts promoted farmer-researcher interactions and targeted more efficient and effective wheat value chains to generate and diversify farmer incomes. In 2017, the initiative provided needsbased training and workshops for 3,451 farmers, 454 development agents, 54 youth and women's groups, 33 seed producers, and 49 early career researchers from NARS. These efforts prioritized outreach to women: some 34% of farmers, 37% of development agents, 18% of seed producers, and 49% of early career NARS researchers were women.