Enhancing Food Security in Arab Countries, led by ICARDA, aims to enhance the productivity of food crops, especially wheat across eight countries. Adopting a participatory approach, the initiative tests, validates and disseminates proven innovations and technologies to farmers - including improved wheat varieties, sustainable agronomic practices such as conservation agriculture, and the more efficient use of scarce water resources.
It aims to meet current and future dietary needs of the growing populations of participating countries, targeting a reduction in yield gaps.
The project also works to strengthen the capacity of farmers and researchers, with a particular focus on the next generation of scientists – a young scientist program provides training in conventional and advanced areas of agricultural research focused on field crops.
Recent impacts have included:
- In Egypt – raised-bed planting increased from 2080 ha in the first season to 29,167 ha in 2013/14; the use of certified seeds increased from 2046 tons in 2010/11 to 4457 tons in 2012/2013; and in Al-Sharkia Governorate alone wheat production reached over 880,000 tons in 2013-2014, a 58 percent increase over the previous four years.
- In Jordan – wheat yields have increased by up to 12 percent – even under sub-optimal conditions.
- In Morocco – there were positive trends regarding the adoption of improved wheat production technologies; water productivity increased by 63-200 percent as a result.
- In Sudan – improved varieties of wheat are generating six tons per hectare and covering up to 85 percent of the cultivated area in some project sites.
- In Tunisia – production of over 5000 tons of wheat, worth approximately 1,500,000 USD.
- In Yemen – the rate of technology adoption among participating farmers reached 75 percent in 2013-14.
- In Algeria – the area dedicated to wheat production has increased by 10 percent in project areas since the project was initiated.
Initiated in 2011, with funding from the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development (AFESD), the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED), the Islamic Development Bank, and the OPEC Fund for International Development, the project has now entered its second phase after four successful seasons.
During the second phase, the project continues to focus on sustainably increasing wheat production in a cereal-based production system through the following components:
- Disseminating readily-available, tested and validated technologies using effective extension models
- Adaptive research under farmer conditions to fine-tune new technologies developed by research
- Adopt and assess the impact of disseminated technologies that could lead to enhanced wheat production
Capacity strengthening for all stakeholders.