Wheat and food legumes are staple foods across West Asia and North Africa, providing a valuable source of protein, particularly among the poorer sectors of society. In response an ICARDA-managed project is testing, validating, and disseminating proven innovations to assist wheat and food legume farmers across the region, helping to stabilize production and strengthen food security against a backdrop of increasing climate variability.
The Project, funded by the European Union (EU) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), recently hosted Tunisia’s Minister of Agriculture, H. E. Dr. Lassad Lachaal. Tunisia is one of the countries targeted by the initiative – research activities take place at the Regional Research Center of Field Crops, located in the governorate of Beja, a major wheat-producing region.
The visit provided an opportunity for the Minister to witness first-hand the project’s achievements. The promotion of new chickpea varieties to local farmers has progressed during recent years - yields have increased by two to three times over traditional varieties.
The Project has also extended integrated pest management techniques – a sustainable approach to pest management that emphasizes the use of cultural and biological interventions, and supports the targeted use of pesticides only when alternative methods have been exhausted, costs are not excessive, and there is no threat to existing agro-ecosystems.
Minister Lachaal interacted with farmers, stakeholders, seed producers and researchers, and committed his government’s continued support to field crop production.
For more information on the EU-IFAD funded Enhancing Productivity of Wheat-Legume Cropping Systems for Smallholder Farmers in West Asia and North Africa, visit: http://www.icarda.org/strengthening-wheat-legume-systems/teaser