Integrated research and technology transfer for sustainable development of semi-desert areas in Northwest Egypt
Matrouh Resource Management Project (MRMP) - a resource management and rural development project with a strong adaptive research and technology transfer base - operated in the Northwest Coast of Egypt. The project targeted the sustainabiJity of the fragile and highly degraded natural resource base, and livelihoods security of poor Bedouin communities in dryland areas there. ICARDA provided technical assistance for research and development (R&D) programs. Community-based, multidisciplinary, and participatory approaches to R&D were used to integrate natural resource management (NRM) with production improvement and capacity building. Simple technological packages were tested, disseminated, and adopted through joint research! extension! community efforts; and substantial improvements were realized in the areas of soiVwater/rangeland development and conservation, agricultural productivity, and farm income. Water harvesting increased water supply by 100%, satisfying domestic needs for over 8500 households with their flocks, and for about 3000 ha of crop area, in a region severely deficit in water. Yield of barley (the main crop in the area) increased by about 60%, and mproved varieties were adopted by about 50% of producers. Similar gains were achieved in horticulture and livestock production. Introducing new germplasm and practices (soiVwater/crop management, rotations and crop mixtures, and fodder shrub inter-planting) promoted more productive and intensified farming systems. The project effectively contributed to capacity building of the national agricultural research and extension system and local communities to apply new approaches to R&D. This paper explores how large-scale development projects, assisted by international agricultural research, can enhance adoption and impact of new technologies by facilitating effective integration of research with extension and farming communities.