Improved food security, nutrition, income and resilience of smallholder agriculture in the dryland regions of Africa and Asia, through the collaborative development and deployment of solutions for crop improvement, crop management, post-harvest technologies and market access to dryland cereal crops.
The CGIAR Research Program on Dryland Cereals (Dryland Cereals) aims at improving food security, nutrition, income and resilience of smallholder agriculture in the dryland regions of Africa and Asia, through collaborative development and deployment of solutions for crop improvement, crop management, post-harvest technologies and market access to dryland cereal crops including barley, finger millet, pearl millet and sorghum. These are highly resilient, climate-hardy, micronutrient-dense crops that are the mainstay of agricultural systems in the dryland regions, where they are primarily used for food, feed and fodder.
Dryland Cereals envisions a world where the dryland poor are well-nourished and secure in their supplies of dryland-grown cereal grains. The program also envisions them producing large surpluses of those grains and selling them for remunerative prices, using those proceeds to escape poverty and food-insecure subsistence farming.
The overriding goal of Dryland Cereals is to achieve farm-level impacts, primarily through higher and more stable dryland crop productivity on smallholder farms in Africa and Asia that will increase incomes and reduce rural poverty, increase food security, improve nutrition and sustainably manage natural resources.
The program is a global partnership that will identify and implement necessary Research for Development (R4D) interventions to strengthen the value chains of dryland cereals in the target regions from end to end, utilizing assembled gender-disaggregated baseline information, demand analysis, gap/constraint analysis, priority setting, foresight planning and technology generation.
It will focus on reducing gender inequalities and removing the constraints faced by women farmers along this value chain through a planned gender-balancing strategy. It will also contribute to capacity building, infrastructure development and technology dissemination related to dryland cereal crops in the target regions.
This overall context presents both the challenge and opportunity to bring together a critical mass of international resources and expertise focused on a geography crop portfolio along a strategically organized impact pathway. The objective of the program is to:
- Achieve critical mass of expertise and resources focused on the major cereal crops in dryland agriculture and provide a unified channel for separate and fragmented efforts;
- Utilize the comparative advantage of CGIAR Centers and other partner agencies, particularly in the areas of genomics, phenomics and bioinformatics applied via modern breeding methods and platforms;
- Raise awareness of the lesser-known facts about dryland cereals such as their resilience and climate hardiness and their nutritional value, thus supporting the development of internal infrastructure and human capacity critical for lasting benefits.
Dryland Cereals partners will enable and foster an increase in on-farm yields of the four focus crops of at least 16% over ten years, elevating total production in the target zones by 11 million metric tons of grain, providing US$2.5 billion additional annual value of food, feed and fodder. These benefits will flow to about 5.8 million smallholder farms which are home to 34 million people.