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About Dryland Systems

The CGIAR Research Program on Dryland Agricultural Production Systems (known as Dryland Systems) embodies a new approach to integrated and ‘holistic’ agricultural research. It combines several research disciplines, including crop selection and rotations, natural resource management, and socio-economics. The goal of Dryland Systems is to identify and develop resilient, diversified and more productive combinations of crop, livestock, rangeland, aquatic and agroforestry systems that increase productivity, reduce hunger and malnutrition, and improve quality of life for the rural poor.

Targeted outcomes and impact:

  • Low-potential and marginal dry lands: strategies and tools to minimize risk and reduce vulnerability
  • Higher-potential dry lands regions: supporting sustainable intensification of agricultural production systems.

An agro-ecosystems approach is taken because of the marginal, complex and integrated nature of the dry areas, the need to address broad research questions that compare and contrast dryland systems of the world, and the challenge of scalability when expanding promising research outputs to different regions.

Dryland Systems engages in large-scale action research to identify innovative intervention packages - developed together with stakeholders - to sustainably improve agricultural productivity. The aim is to reduce the vulnerability of rural communities and entire regions across the world’s dry areas.

To develop solutions, research teams - in partnership with rural communities and countries - will validate the effectiveness of interventions in representative agro-ecosystems, and promote their scaling-out in the dry areas of five target regions:

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