ICARDA. International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas
The International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) was established in 1977. It is one of 15 such centers supported by the CGIAR. ICARDA’s founding mandate to promote agricultural development in the dry areas of developing countries remains highly relevant today.
ICARDA works with a tight focus on the problem-solving needs of resource-poor farmers, achieving this through the in-field delivery of its research outputs. Although global food production has increased by 20 per cent in the past decade, food insecurity and poverty remain widespread, while the natural resource base continues to decline.
International research centers such as ICARDA, which have helped drive previous improvements, continue to deliver new technologies to support sustainable growth in agriculture, and crucially, to work with a wide range of partners to accelerate the dissemination of these technologies.
ICARDA’s biggest strength is its staff – 600 highly skilled men and women from 32 countries. Our research and training activities cover crop improvement, water and land management, integrated crop-livestock-rangeland management, and climate change adaptation.
ICARDA works with partners worldwide, developing innovations to improve food security and the livelihoods of the rural poor. ICARDA’s work targets non-tropical dry areas in developing countries, and also produces international public goods with potential for global application.
Research covers crops (wheat, barley, faba bean, lentil, chickpea and forage legumes), the management of natural resources (water, land, biodiversity), small ruminant production (sheep and goats), farming systems (intensification, diversification, integration between farming system components), and socio-economics and policy research – on how policies can be more relevant to the situation of low income countries.
The estimated benefits of ICARDA’s crop improvement research and production of new varieties over the past 3 decades has been estimated at US$850 million per year. Over 900 improved varieties of wheat, developed from ICARDA material, have been released for cultivation worldwide. The new varieties offer higher yields; better tolerance to drought, heat, cold and salinity; and improved resistance to diseases, weeds and insect pests.