Promoting new technologies for improved productivity, incomes, and livelihoods
HSAD is testing and promoting a range of technologies to improve farm productivity, incomes, and livelihoods. These crucial technologies are based on the expertise and know-how of HSAD’s development partners in other dryland agricultural systems and have been proven to increase the efficiency of Iraq’s food production. These options demonstrate significant potential in Iraq and are applicable to dry areas globally – and can be ‘scaled-up’ wherever value chain constraints hold back the potential of agricultural production systems. Technologies include:
Seed multiplication: producing and disseminating high-quality improved seeds that are capable of generating higher yields and incomes for Iraqi farmers. Over the short-term, the HSAD initiative plans to increase the number of improved wheat seed lines and the production of certified seeds. An active seed multiplication program is already underway.
Development and testing of new delivery mechanisms: providing training and the capacity development of extension agents to help improve the delivery of new techniques and technologies. Strategies will also be devised to target vulnerable populations more effectively, particularly women, and include private sector organizations. Plans are also being put in place to strategically modernize and improve extension services, exploiting new technologies and IT applications, such as crop suitability maps, and GIS/Remote sensing applications.
Integrated pest management: a practical and sustainable approach to pest control that combines an extensive range of techniques to control and prevent the growth and spread of pest populations. Applied in southern and central regions of Iraq, HSAD will work with date palm farmers, promoting cultural and biological interventions and the targeted use of pesticides – reserving this last option in scenarios when alternative methods have been exhausted, costs are not excessive, and there is no threat to existing agro-ecosystems.
Development and dissemination of crop/livestock technologies: testing and extending proven technologies to help Iraqi farmers raise their productivity and increase their incomes. Promising technologies include supplemental irrigation, organic fertilizers, and protected agriculture. Extension strategies include participatory workshops to equip farmers with the required skills and know-how to effectively utilize technologies.
Development of improved water and land management: sustainable management options that can be scaled-up and applied in marginal areas of Iraq. These include Conservation agriculture, a proven practice involving stubble retention and leaving fields untilled which is being extended to Iraqi farmers as a means of improving soil health, conserving water, and reducing labor costs. Given the widespread problem of salinity, HSAD is working with farmers to help them manage this constraint more effectively.