Amman, 21 May.
  A new research approach to improving productivity on the world’s driest lands is being launched today.

The CGIAR Research Program on Dryland Systems will combine several research disciplines including crop selection and rotation, natural resources management and socio-economics.

The International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) will take the lead in the program. IWMI will be a partner providing its water management research expertise.

“IWMI is pleased to join the effort to help develop sustainable and more productive  water-management practices in dryland areas with the goal of improving the quality of life for the rural poor,” said Peter McCornick, IWMI’s deputy director general and head of research.

The program will identify and develop more resilient and diversified combinations of crop, livestock, rangeland, aquatic and agroforestry systems to increase productivity and overcome hunger and malnutrition in dry regions

CGIAR is a global agricultural research partnership consisting of 15 research centers worldwide, which work in collaboration with hundreds of partner organizations. Dryland Systems will include nine of those research centers.

The program is especially focused on developing strategies to reduce vulnerability on low-potential and marginal dry lands, and supporting the sustainable intensification of agriculture on higher-potential dry lands.

The multi-disciplinary approach is needed because of the complex and integrated nature of dryland areas, the need to compare and contrast dryland systems in the world, and the challenge of scaling up promising interventions in different regions.

Research teams, in partnership with rural communities and countries, will identify and evaluate intervention packages in representative agro-ecosystems. The solutions then will be promoted on a larger scale in five target regions:

  • West Africa Sahel and the Dry Savannas
  • East and Southern Africa
  • North Africa and West Asia
  • Central Asia and the Caucasus
  • South Asia.