Priority regions for research on dryland cereals and legumes
Graham Hyman, Glenn
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Dryland cereals and legumes are important crops in farming systems across the world. Yet they are frequently neglected among the priorities for international agricultural research and development, often due to lack of information on their magnitude and extent. Given what we know about the global distribution of dryland cereals and legumes, what regions should be high priority for research and development to improve livelihoods and food security? This research evaluated the geographic dimensions of these crops and the farming systems where they are found worldwide. The study employed geographic information science and data to assess the key farming systems and regions for these crops. Dryland cereal and legume crops should be given high priority in 18 farming systems worldwide, where their cultivated area comprises more than 160 million ha. These regions include the dryer areas of South Asia, West and East Africa, the Middle East and North Africa, Central America and other parts of Asia. These regions are prone to drought and heat stress, have limiting soil constraints, make up half of the global population and account for 60 percent of the global poor and malnourished. The dryland cereal and legume crops and farming systems merit more research and development attention to improve productivity and address development problems. This project developed an open access dataset and information resource that provides the basis for future analysis of the geographic dimensions of dryland cereals and legumes.