Impacts of Crop Improvement Research on Farmers' Livelihoods: The Case of Winter-Sown Chickpea in Syria
This study presents farmers’ evaluations of the performance of winter-sown chickpea technology developed by ICARDA relative to traditional spring planting, and assesses impacts of this technology on farmers’ livelihoods in Syria. Ascochyta blight, insects and weeds were the most important factors affecting productivity of winter-sown chickpea, according to 480 farmers. Among package components, crop varieties were widely adopted and most farmers adopted other components. The winter-sown chickpea area is expanding, particularly in drier regions that do not traditionally grow chickpea. Adoption was higher for better-off farmers – poorer farmers generally prefer to see positive effects first. Adoption over time is accelerating, with obvious benefits: yields have increased by 18% in drier areas and 32% elsewhere in Syria. Winter-sown chickpea technology increased incomes for all adopting households with greatest impact among poorer farmers. All gains are important because chickpea contributes 22% of total household income and should increase with further increases in package adoption.