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By Aly Abousabaa
Cairo – Water scarcity in the Middle East and North Africa is increasing at an alarming rate. It is already at critical levels in most of the countries of the region. The annual per capita share is continuously declining. Important resources, including water, are being diverted to other priority sectors. As a result, agriculture loses substantial amounts of water every year, even as the demand for food rises due to rapid population growth.
Izmir, Turkey - With the inauguration of the Regional Cereal Rust Research Center in Turkey, ICARDA and the Ministry of Food, Agriculture, and Livestock have formalized efforts to help fight cereal rust diseases.
Situated in Turkey's Aegean Agricultural Research Institute in Izmir, the Center is the result of partnership between ICARDA and the General Directorate of Agricultural Research and Policies - also known as TAGEM - at the Ministry of Food, Agriculture, and Livestock.
The dry areas are particularly vulnerable to climate change. Agricultural research for development will help communities cope with rising temperatures and water scarcity – strengthening their resilience, preventing displacement, and developing the lessons that other regions can use to support their own adaptation strategies.
Although the factors driving migration are diverse, we should not ignore food insecurity. On World Food Day we argue that one solution to the migration crisis is a sustained effort to strengthen the resilience of agriculture against a back-drop of rising temperatures and increasing water scarcity.
Conflict and instability are widely seen as the principal factors driving the migration crisis – but food insecurity, poverty and extreme weather events linked to climate change such as drought also play an important role.
A research facility is helping countries fight wheat rust diseases – and the threat they pose to wheat yields and food security.
Although wheat rust disease is well known, the situation and threat are fundamentally different today. Changes in temperature and rainfall patterns have promoted the emergence of new races of rust that are increasingly overcoming the defenses of rust-resistant wheat varieties.
The challenge of desertification, already big, is becoming even more significant as a growing global population places increasing pressure on productive land. If we have any chance of delivering more nutritious food to people in the Global South we need to recover degraded land and enhance the health and fertility of our soils.
In the dry areas, where ICARDA works, this challenge is likely to be more difficult – these marginal environments are on the frontline in the fight against desertification and are predicted to be worst affected by climate change.
Farmers in dryland countries are already hard-hit by climate change – with many forced to contend with increasingly erratic rainfall, more frequent drought, extreme temperatures, shifting climatic zones, and the arrival of new crop pests and diseases. As a result, there is an urgent need to strengthen agricultural resilience to support rural livelihoods and maintain domestic food production. Failure to do so risks an unhealthy reliance on imported food, which would expose ordinary people to the vagaries of global commodity markets.
ICARDA-Conservation agriculture-Research to Action-2
Abstract: This report presents examples, approaches and evidence on conservation agriculture and its potential for use in low-income countries. It is designed to help policy makers and development partners appreciate the issues and evaluate how conservation agriculture can contribute to rural development and food security goals, paving the way for its adoption as a national agricultural strategy.
Aleppo, 25 May 2009 - The Islamic Development Bank and the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to establish an effective strategic partnership on agricultural research, development and training programs, aiming to fight poverty and hunger in dry areas across the developing world.