Occupying 40% of the earth’s land area, dryland areas are home to 2.5 billion people – 30% of the world’s population. These regions are forced to contend with severe environmental degradation, increasing climate variability, and severe demographic challenges.
Applying state of the art ’systems thinking,’ Dryland Systems takes research for development ideas much further than traditional approaches, combining innovative partnerships, diverse technologies, and appropriate policies.
Dryland Systems aims to strengthen food security and generate higher and more secure incomes for tens of millions of people across the dry areas. It will also raise the productive capacity of natural resources and reduce degradation across 11 billion hectares.
The effectiveness of agricultural extension is controlled by a range of factors: the capacity of extension agents; the quality of extension materials; and whether rural communities or civil society organizations are engaged and responsive to extension efforts.
Policies are an integral part of making an agro-ecosystem approach work and national policies are key to getting innovations into the field – helping to achieve the elusive dream of scaling-up new approaches.
The implementation of the ICARDA-led CGIAR Research Program on Dryland Systems continued to move ahead recently when a group of ICARDA scientists visited one of the Program’s ‘action sites’ in Jordan and discussed the initiative’s forthcoming plans with key stakeholders.
The CGIAR Research Program on Dryland Systems adopts a ‘systems’ approach to agricultural research for development which effectively incorporates the constellation of social, economic, and institutional factors controlling the adoption of new innovations and technologies.