Helping rural communities to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change requires the uptake of new innovations that can deliver productivity gains against a backdrop of shifting weather patterns and increasingly scarce water resources. The Project builds on existing expertise and knowledge to offer communities technology packages targeting barley and small ruminant production – a mainstay of rural production systems in Jordan and Iraq.
Key innovations include:
Improved, drought-tolerant barley varieties: Advances in crop science to produce high-performing crops hold exciting prospects for ensuring that dryland food production systems are more efficient and more resistant to pressure from drought, extremes of cold and heat, new pests and disease. The Project therefore prioritizes the development and dissemination of new barley varieties capable of tolerating prolonged drought and increasing water scarcity in Jordan and Iraq.
Innovative farming practices help to improve the sustainability and efficiency of production systems within project areas. These include early sowing, modified seeding rates, and Conservation Agriculture which is applicable to conditions in Jordan and Iraq and capable of generating a series of positive impacts: immediate savings in resource use and efficiency, lower fuel costs due to reduced land tillage, improved moisture, and the reduced application of fertilizer and pesticide.
Participatory plant breeding for improved barley varieties. Farmers involved in the selection of new varieties enure that crops are tailored to local conditions and usage, and village-led seed multiplication ensures that quality seeds get into the hands of farmers more quickly.
Improved feed and livestock management: Basic improvements in fertility and production through measures such as early weaning and simultaneous milking, the correct dosage and timing of parasite control, and sustainable feed blocks.
How do we ensure that new transformative technologies are placed directly in the hands of farmers, giving them to tools to change their practices and mitigate the threat posed by climate change? The first step taken was an evaluation and climate change proofing of appropriate technologies – given that shifting weather patterns are one of the key factors affecting the adoption and continued adoption of improved technology.
This was followed by efforts to identify the opportunities and potential for the generation of new technologies capable of strengthening farmer resilience. Potential technologies were evaluated according to a series of relevant criteria: suitability and resilience to climate change, and measurable improvements in livelihoods within targeted rural communities. The project therefore promoted technologies capable of withstanding water variability, and facilitating their continuous adoption and sustainable impact on livelihoods.
Efforts to transfer new information and technologies to farmers were primarily promoted via peer-to-peer learning, an effective means of demonstrating new innovations, directly illustrating their transformative potential to farmers.
Given that ineffective scaling-out approaches often hinder the dissemination of improved technologies beyond the communities where they are tested, researchers investigated gaps and bottlenecks that were undermining the extension of new technologies to farming communities. This contributed to the development of a technology transfer model involving all partners and applied according to an appropriate regulatory institutional framework. Finally, the capacity of extension agents will be raised through regular trainings and workshops.