Recent food crises have demonstrated that productivity gains in developing countries, particularly those in dryland regions, have slowed. Enhancing crop productivity is a crucial means of reversing this trend and allowing the region’s smallholder farmers to fulfill their potential and raise the yields of staple crops for domestic consumption.
Assisting smallholders in this endeavor against a backdrop of climate change will be the primary aim of this initiative, delivering pro-poor scientific and technical innovations alongside national partners to increase and stabilize the productivity of wheat and food legume-based production systems.
The initiative’s main objectives, based on ICARDA and national partner priorities, are:
- Promoting proven technologies for wheat-legume rotation systems through the scaling out of improved wheat and food legume varieties and associated production technologies, including supplemental irrigation; conservation agriculture; and improved seed delivery systems. Technologies will emphasize sustainable production-enhancing interventions.
- In response to new challenges and constraints such as climate change, the initiative will combine the development and demonstration of new higher-yielding, stress-tolerant varieties with other interventions – namely sustainable pest and disease management practices, and crop and soil water management strategies.
Expected outcomes to boost smallholder productivity and resilience include:
- High yielding and stress tolerant wheat and food legume germplasm, and associated technologies, will be tested and adapted to farmers’ production environments and end-user requirements
- Adoption constraints will be identified to guide adaptive research programs and the development of new technologies
- National seed systems will be strengthened through technical training and advisory services
- Financially viable community- or farm-based seed production enterprises, capable of producing quality-assured seed will be established in pilot sites
- New conservation agriculture-based wheat-legume rotation systems will be developed and tested in farmer fields
- Integrated supplemental irrigation and crop management packages that conserve water and maximize crop productivity will be developed and tested in target areas
- Gender analyses, including the differentiation of the constraints that men and women face in accessing technologies, information, and markets, are communicated to relevant stakeholders, including research, extension development organizations, and decision-makers
- Research capacity of national programs enhanced through training and networking
- IPM options for key diseases, insect pests and parasitic weeds with wide effectiveness demonstrated on farmers’ fields