International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA)
The International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) is a global research-for-development organization. They envision thriving and resilient livelihoods in dryland communities of the developing world coming with robust incomes, secure access to food, markets, nutrition and health and the capacity to manage natural resources in equitable, sustainable and innovative ways. Since its establishment in 1977 as a non-for-profit organization, ICARDA has implemented research for development programs in more than 50 countries in the world’s dry areas, spanning from Morocco in North Africa to Bangladesh in South Asia.
Their mission is to provide innovative science-based solutions for improving the resilience and livelihoods of the resource-poor in dry areas. They aim to end poverty and enhance food and water security through the sustainable management of natural resources in the face of climate change. By applying cutting-edge science they develop strategic partnerships and capacities for regional institutions and farmers’ organizations to ensure inclusive and equitable growth.
Drylands cover over 40% of the world’s land surface and span globally 100 developing countries with a growing population of more than 2.5 billion people. Although farmers in drylands are major crop producers and half of the world’s livestock is kept here, people are living in chronic poverty and facing challenges highly impacted by climate change. Scarce water resources, erratic precipitation, drought, salinization, land degradation, loss of traditional knowledge, unemployment, malnutrition and poor diets are new phenomena farmers in dry areas have to cope with.
ICARDA combines scientific evidence and indigenous knowledge from dryland communities to address these challenges, which also have a considerable impact on emerging global issues of food security, land degradation and climate change. Their research aims to provide the evidence required to better position dryland issues firmly on the research and development agenda at national, regional and global levels.
Their three main goals that contribute directly to Sustainable Development Goals target
- REDUCED POVERTY: by generating higher, diverse and more sustainable incomes through functional markets that result in better standard of living for men, women and children in drylands
- FOOD AND NUTRITION SECURITY: by increasing food and nutritional security, improving human health in vulnerable communities
- SUSTAINABLE MANAGEMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES: by developing equitable and sustainable management practices of land, water resources, energy and biodiversity in drylands for future generations
Within the CGIAR consortium, ICARDA has a global mandate for the crop development of barley, lentil and faba bean and serves the non-tropical dry areas for the improvement of water-use efficiency in agriculture, rangeland issues and small-ruminant production. In the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and in Central Asia, ICARDA contributes to the improvement of bread and durum wheat, kabuli chickpea, pasture and forage legumes, and associated farming systems. They also work on land management topics, the diversification of production systems, and value chains for sector based crop and livestock products. Social, economic and policy research as well as communication and knowledge sharing is an integral component of ICARDA's approaches to enhance the result uptake and maximize the impact of the research outputs.
Genebank Resources & Services
Ranked among the top ten gene banks globally for barley, faba bean, durum wheat, chickpeas and lentils, ICARDA’s genebanks are a globally rich resource for agrobiodiversity, holding a total of 151,000 accessions from the ‘Fertile Crescent’ in Western Asia, the Abyssinian highlands in Ethiopia and Nile Valley, where earliest known crop domestication practices were first recorded. Many plants are now extinct in their natural habitats. An international public good, they distribute germplasm to agricultural organizations around the world to enable development of improved climate- resilient crop varieties, tolerant to drought, salinity, diseases and insects.
Country & Regional Partnerships
Partnering with countries through national research and extension systems (NARS) has been a cornerstone of ICARDA’s research-for-development initiatives. These partnerships entail ICARDA’s scientists working closely with NARS, extension, and local research institutions and universities, taking into considerations the national policy frameworks. With the center’s decentralization strategy starting in 2012, ICARDA’s partnership programs – seven regional and four country level – cover about 50 countries across Africa and Asia.See more