What are the key constraints and challenges of producing food in the drylands? What does a success story of sustainable food production in water scarce areas look like? These are some of the questions that some forty five (45) researchers will battle with this week at the Regional Inception workshop for East/ Southern Africa for the CGIAR Research Program on Integrated and Sustainable Agricultural Production Systems for Improved Food Security and Livelihoods in Dry Areas.
Codenamed ‘CRP1.1 Dryland Systems’, the goal of this research program is to identify and develop resilient diversified and more productive combinations of mixed crop/livestock, rangeland, aquatic and agroforestry systems that have the potential to be scaled-up, especially in dry areas where water is scarce. It targets the poor and highly vulnerable populations of the dry areas. It aims to develop technology, policy and institutional innovations to improve livelihoods, using an integrated systems approach. It is currently under consideration for funding by the CGIAR Consortium of agricultural research centers.
The workshop takes place from Tuesday 5 June to Thursday 7June, 2012. Participants will be drawn from participating CGIAR centres namely International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) ; Bioversity International ; Centro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical (CIAT) ; Centro Internacional de la Papa (CIP) ; International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) ; International Water Management Institute (IWMI) ; World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) ; WorldFish Center ; CGIAR Sub-Saharan Africa Challenge Program (SSA-CP).
ICARDA is the lead centre in this CRP and they have recently appointed Dr William (Bill) Payne as the Director of this CRP. Other partners and stakeholders expected include: National Agricultural Research centres (NARS), advanced research institutes with experience in dryland systems research, farmers’ organizations, Non-Governmental Organisations, Civil Society Organisations, womens’ organizations, the private sector, government representatives, extension services, public awareness experts, and development agencies.
“During this workshop, we hope to finalise mapping out project sites and confirm the roles of each of the partners” said Polly Ericksen, ILRI’ s lead researcher on the project.
Read more about this CGIAR regional workshop in this posting: CGIAR drylands research program sets directions for eastern and southern Africa, 4 Jun 2012.