The vast majority of the rural population in dry land areas is involved in agriculture, with their livelihoods based on crops and livestock.
It is important to remember this mix, as in many areas livestock make up 50% or more of the produce consumed or marketed. With this in mind, the development of agriculture and agriculture-related activities is obviously a major driver of rural economic growth and food security.
The often low productivity of the production systems of resource-poor, dryland farmers can be improved with cost-effective management, efficient integration of all farming activities (crops and livestock), efforts to address the yield gap and proper, strengthened linkages throughout the market chain.
The program has two key research themes:
- Sustainable intensification of market-oriented, dry land farming systems designed to give increased productivity through exploiting yield potential, improved management, and the sustainable use of genetic and natural resources.
- Diversification: this theme is focused on market-oriented income diversification and livelihood improvement. The range of options includes alternative cropping, novel livestock systems and the adding of value to primary (raw) products.