We also recognize that if improved and productive livelihoods are the goal then agricultural and socio-economic research needs to look beyond subsistence agriculture and consider approaches to increasing income – helping rural communities to invest in their farms, education, health care or small enterprises to generate wider development gains.
ICARDA acts as a catalyst to strengthen entire value chains, working closely with key stakeholders along each chain, allowing agriculture to generate income for poor households and wider economic activity in their communities. Women and youth represent crucial groups that have much to gain from taking part in strong value chains, supported by enabling policies and sustainable markets.
Dairy production empowers women in Afghanistan
In Afghanistan, we trained 1,400 women in rural areas in northern and eastern provinces to help them improve dairy production. The women also received training in a community-based health care system linked to the Afghan Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock. The number of goats distributed increased four-fold to over 7,000 in four years and 60% of beneficiaries reported adopting improved goat management practices. Milk production increased by 30% and goat mortality dropped by 90%.
Promoting value chains in post-conflict Iraq
The HSAD initiative improved the incomes of Iraqi farmers and agribusinesses by strengthening agricultural value chains. It targeted key crop commodities crucial to Iraqi food security and eased value chain constraints, raising the competitive potential of the country’s agricultural sector. Activities included: improving extension services, strengthening the capacity of beneficiaries, and reforming agricultural policies, regulations, and institutions.
Malt barley varieties emerge as lucrative cash crops in Ethiopia
Two new malt barley varieties with the potential to triple average yields were released in Ethiopia – an outcome of ICARDA’s research partnership with the country’s Holetta Agricultural Research Center. The two varieties can yield up to 6 tons per hectare and offer excellent malting quality - making them attractive buys for Ethiopia’s malting and brewery industry.
Promoting red meat value chains in Tunisia
The ‘Red Meat Value Chain’ project works in Tunisia to eliminate feed gaps and help farming communities adapt to drought. Funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the initiative promotes practical, cost-effective technologies that help enhance the sustainable supply of nutritious feed and forage. These include: feed block manufacturing units; processed cactus; fast-track seed multiplication and dissemination strategies; and improved quality forage through the production of silage.