Food, income, and livelihoods: Impact of new agricultural technologies in Africa
Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan and Yemen have a combined population of 195 million, of whom 72% live in rural areas. All four economies are largely agriculture-based; but most farmers use traditional crop varieties and farming practices, and operate at subsistence level. ICARDA is working with national research and extension agencies to develop and promote new farm technologies designed specifically for resource-poor smallholders. One project, supported by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), focuses on four key crops – wheat, faba bean, chickpea and lentil. It involves applied research as well as training and technology transfer, aiming to increase farm productivity and sustainability, and thereby improve food security, income and livelihoods of the rural poor. Has the project met its objectives? To find out, ICARDA and national research centers conducted a series of adoption and impact studies, interviewing over 900 households in the four countries. The studies clearly documented the impacts of the project on rural welfare. They also helped identify the factors driving adoption, and the technical, socio-economic and policy constraints that hinder the diffusion of new technologies.