Wheat research: bridging the yield gapApril 15, 2010 at 9:32 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
West Asia is one of the world’s highest per-capita consumers (and importers) of wheat. Yield gaps – the difference between potential yields, achieved on research stations, and actual yields on farmers’ fields – are substantial. A workshop in Damascus earlier this month, organized by Syria’s General Commission for Agricultural Scientific Research (GCSAR), explored ways to bridge this yield gap. The 100-plus participants included scientists from Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon and Syria, as well as regional and international agencies.
ICARDA was represented by Dr Nasri Haddad, Coordinator, West Asia Regional Program, who highlighted various technology options for increasing wheat yields. For example, ICARDA studies in different countries have shown the benefits of integrated packages: improved varieties, early planting, better soil and crop management. Under rainfed conditions in dry areas, the packages have the potential to increase yields by 1.6 to 2.5 times in the target areas in Morocco, 1.7 to 2 times in Syria, and 1.5 to 3 times in Turkey.
The workshop recommended that yield gaps in West Asia be measured at multiple locations for several seasons; and advocated better research-extension linkages and key policy changes to encourage the adoption of new wheat technologies. Participants also recommended that yield gaps be estimated not only in terms of grain yield, but also in terms of loss of potential income. This would help to convince farmers to adopt the new technologies.