International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas

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Crops are harvested in fields at the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas, or ICARDA, site in Terbol, Bekaa Valley.

The International Center for Agriculture Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), a member of the CGIAR, supported by the CGIAR Fund, is a non-profit agricultural research institute that aims to improve the livelihoods of the resource-poor across the world's dry areas.


Established in 1977, ICARDA's origins lie in a 1973 study that highlighted the food security challenges faced by countries across the dry regions of the Near East and North Africa. ICARDA research activities include the development of new crop varieties, water harvesting, conservation agriculture, the diversification of production systems, integrated crop/rangeland/livestock production systems, and the empowerment of rural women.

ICARDA has been temporarily headquartered in Beirut, Lebanon, since leaving Aleppo, Syria in 2012. Support is provided by research centers and offices in Jordan, Morocco, Ethiopia, Egypt, Tunisia, Turkey, Afghanistan, India, Iran, Oman, Pakistan, Sudan, Uzbekistan, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.

A seed bank in the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas, or ICARDA, site in Bekaa Valley holds around 40,000 seed samples — compared to 150,000 in Syria


ICARDA's decentralization builds on the Center's existing organization. Staff have been relocated to Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Ethiopia, Egypt, Tunisia, and Turkey, and the Center has established temporary headquarters in Beirut, Lebanon.

Integrated Research Platforms[edit]

As part of its decentralization, ICARDA has established integrated research platforms that address research priorities in each region, but serve dry areas globally through collaboration and partnerships with national programs, advanced research institutions, and other partners in the development and dissemination of international public goods.

The Center has developed four major Platforms, including the headquarters:

Headquarters (West Asia): ICARDA has established temporary headquarters in Beirut, Lebanon, and expanded facilities and activities in Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan. Syria and Jordan also host a CRP Dryland Systems Action Site.

North Africa, with a Platform in Morocco: Building on the existing partnership with INRA (Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique), and focused on the intensification and diversification of rainfed cereal-based production systems. Morocco also hosts a CRP Dryland Systems Action Site.

Sub-Saharan Africa, with a Platform in Ethiopia: Building on the partnership with ILRI in the CRP on Livestock and Fish and on-going collaboration with the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR). Ethiopia also hosts a CRP Dryland Systems Action Site.

South Asia, with a Platform in India: Building on the existing partnership with ICAR (Indian Council of Agricultural Research), and focused especially on food legumes systems. India also hosts two CRP Dryland Systems Action Sites.

Thematic research locations[edit]

Under ICARDA's decentralization strategy, the Center is operating four additional research locations with specific themes:

Egypt, for high-input agriculture: a platform with a targeted focus on high-input irrigated agricultural systems, building on collaborative research on irrigated wheat improvement and irrigated systems management.

Turkey, Central Asia and Iran, for Winter Wheat and Winter Barley: a distinct environment with extensive high altitude and highland agro-ecologies with severe winters particularly suitable for breeding winter wheat and winter barley.

Turkey/ICARDA Cereal Rusts Research Center in Izmir: Providing expertise on wheat rusts through the Regional Cereal Rust Research Center within the Aegean Agricultural Research Institute, part of Turkey's Ministry of Food, Agriculture, and Livestock. Founded in 2017.[1]

Sudan Heat Tolerance Research Location: This research location breeds heat-tolerant wheat and food legume varieties, in collaboration with Sudan's Agricultural Research Corporation (ARC)



  1. ^ "Tackling the threat of rust disease". ICARDA (International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas). 26 July 2017. Retrieved 10 March 2021.
  2. ^ Harvey, Fiona (19 March 2015). "Syrian seedbank wins award for continuing work despite civil war". the Guardian. Retrieved 26 January 2018.
  3. ^ "ICARDA researchers receive Olam Prize for innovation in food security » CGIAR Research Program on WHEAT". Retrieved 26 January 2018.
  4. ^ "BBC 100 Women 2020: Who is on the list this year?". BBC News. 23 November 2020. Retrieved 25 November 2020.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 36°00′59″N 36°56′34″E / 36.016268°N 36.942801°E / 36.016268; 36.942801