Never before in the history of mankind have the world’s agro-ecosystems faced such huge and various challenges - climate change, increasing water shortage, annual losses of millions of hectares of arable land, and ever more virulent pests and diseases.
As the global population heads towards nine billion we must redefine the capabilities of our crop plants and take yields to unprecedented levels to maintain food security. Genetic improvement remains the most cost-effective and powerful means of achieving this.
These challenges are primarily addressed at ICARDA through the work of the BIGM Research Program (Biodiversity and Integrated Gene Management). It has various sub-themes. These are all focused on the unified aim of enhanced agricultural productivity, production stability, and nutritional quality through high-yielding and stress-tolerant varieties of:
- food legumes
- feed legumes (for livestock)
- bread and durum wheat
All these varieities are bred and adapted to address climatic variability and other changes, across various agro-ecologies.
Crop improvement and breeding at ICARDA follows an integrated approach, using conventional, molecular and participatory approaches, and multi-location selection and evaluation in collaboration with NARS.
The resulting output is practical help and impact in contributing to poverty alleviation and the achievement of food security.