This is the VOA Special English Development
Agricultural experts have launched a land and
water management project in the Middle East. The project seeks to increase food
security in dry areas. Researchers say the water availability in some of the
areas has dropped well below the internationally recognized standard.
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Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, the West Bank, Syria and
Yemen are all taking part in the project.
It is part of a larger ten-year effort called the Water and Livelihoods
Initiative. The project is also expected
to increase household income for farmers in the areas.
The United States Agency for International
Development provided one million dollars for the Water and Livelihoods
Initiative. Scott Christianson is an agricultural
development advisor with U.S.A.I.D. He
helped develop the project while working for the International Center for
Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas.
He says the countries taking part in the project were all carefully
SCOTT CHRISTIANSON: "They all share a
socio-economic and cultural heritage that's fairly homogeneous. We feel that it's going to maximize our
opportunity for trading of knowledge that we will generate in the project."
by the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas and its
partners has already proven to be successful.
New irrigation methods are expected to double wheat production while using
one-third of the water required for full irrigation. Experts say the new methods also increase
crop production up to five times more than crops that depend on rainfall
The International Center
for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas will provide technical support for
the project. Officials from the
International Water Management Institute and the International Food Policy
Research Institute are also taking part in the effort.
team will be joined by experts from local research institutions, universities and
SCOTT CHRISTIANSON: "We have good partnerships
among the countries within each agro-eco system so that through this twinning
they can learn lessons from each other and work together effectively through
Scott Christianson and other officials met in Amman,
Jordan last week. They attended an international conference on food security
and climate change in dry areas. Nearly
one-fourth of the world's people live in these areas.
say more must be done to deal with water shortages in agriculture. If not, they say, the future of food
security, economic development and social stability in dry areas will be put at
that's the VOA Special English Development Report, written by June Simms. I'm