If productive livelihoods are the goal then research needs to look beyond subsistence agriculture to consider strategies that increase income – helping rural communities to invest in their farms and 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 and allowing agriculture to generate income for poor households and spur wider economic activity.
We assess, assist, and evaluate with strategic partners the creation of sustainable value chains for durum wheat, barley, legumes, seed, and small ruminants in the MENA region and elsewhere – based on a thorough evaluation of local and new markets, and supported by new policies and the creation of effective enabling environments.
ICARDA prioritizes the involvement of women and youth – two marginalized demographic groups with much to gain from taking part in strong value chains – and we develop monitoring, evaluation, and learning systems for investment programs that support the development of agricultural commodities in non-tropical dry areas. These include tools that are critical to guide scaling-up decisions.
In recent years ICARDA has worked with women in Afghanistan to improve dairy production; eased value chain constraints in post-conflict Iraq – through improved extension services, capacity strengthening and policy reform; developed high-yielding barley varieties that supply Ethiopia’s burgeoning malting and brewing industry; and enhanced the sustainable production of nutritious feed and forage that support red meat value chains in Tunisia.